Elon Musk is now lord of the manor over at Twitter after the board of directors was dissolved as part of the merger agreement. While the state of affairs likely isn’t permanent, it does mean that as owner, director and “Chief Twit,” he has what amounts to ultimate power to hire, fire and change the social media platform.
In an SEC filing, the company detailed some of the many changes having to do with the controversial purchase of the platform by Musk:
[A]s a result of the consummation of the Merger, Mr. Musk became the sole director of Twitter. In accordance with the terms of the Merger Agreement, effective as of the effective time of the Merger, the following persons, who were directors of Twitter prior to the effective time of the Merger, are no longer directors of Twitter: Bret Taylor, Parag Agrawal, Omid Kordestani, David Rosenblatt, Martha Lane Fox, Patrick Pichette, Egon Durban, Fei-Fei Li and Mimi Alemayehou.
You may recognize some or all of those names, and certainly the Twitter board was quite a who’s-who of Silicon Valley. But their watch is finished and the deal they squabbled over is complete.
This is not some unprecedented move in a private takeover of a public company, just a part of the process. The board of directors represented the former shareholders and now those shares are owned by someone else. It’s not rare for a board to be cleared this way, and new ones installed as a decision-making and advisory body adjacent to company leadership. That said, because examples of private takeovers at this scale are so few, let alone examples with comparable context, it’s difficult to say with any confidence what would be “normal.”
The result, at all events, is that right now Twitter has what amounts to a dictator, and that dictator is reportedly using that power to enact sweeping changes, like company-wide cuts and charging for verification.
How Musk intends to structure leadership at Twitter is still something of a mystery, probably as much to him as anyone else, but as sole director it’s pretty much his prerogative. It may be that part of the complex and risky financing of the deal entails the installation of certain persons (or indeed kingdoms) in positions of real power and responsibility.
Of course Musk is not doing all this alone — he has reportedly surrounded himself with various cronies and operators who, though lacking any actual power as yet, are no doubt doing their utmost to influence the sole director.