IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Elon Musk to join Twitter's board, says 'significant improvements' are coming

The announcement comes a day after it was revealed that Musk had bought up more than 9 percent of the company's stock.
Get more newsLiveon

Elon Musk will join Twitter's board of directors, it was announced Tuesday, elevating him to the company's leadership just a day after it was revealed that he had bought up more than 9 percent of its stock.

Twitter CEO and board member Parag Agrawal said Tuesday that the company's board had conversations with Musk "in recent weeks."

"He’s both a passionate believer and intense critic of the service which is exactly what we need on @Twitter, and in the boardroom, to make us stronger in the long-term. Welcome Elon!" Agrawal added.

Musk responded to Agrawal: "Looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months!"

In an email to Twitter employees seen by NBC News, Agrawal said he and Musk are aligned on the critical role Twitter plays in the world."

"There are times we will agree, times we will disagree, and that tension will help us get to better answers," Agrawal wrote.

It's not clear how Twitter's 5,500 employees have reacted to the news, but a screenshot from the company's internal Slack chat seen by NBC News offered some indication of a split. Reactions to a news article Tuesday about Musk becoming Twitter's largest shareholder were close to evenly split among a Tesla logo, an emoji of women facepalming and an emoji vomiting.

Musk will serve as a Class II director until 2024, something that technically prevents him from taking over complete control of Twitter's board.

Still, Musk's stake now makes him Twitter's largest individual shareholder. Given his frequent use of the platform, some analysts are expecting Musk, who has 80.5 million followers — nearly four-times more than President Joe Biden — to command a significant presence within the company.

"Musk joining the Twitter board a key signal that Twitter is embracing Musk rather than a more hostile situation," Dan Ives, a managing director at Wedbush Securities who covers Twitter, tweeted Tuesday. "We would expect Musk to have an immediate impact upon joining the Board and the Street will look for a range of strategic paths ahead for Twitter with Musk on board."

Musk joins a board that includes Agrawal and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who stepped down as CEO in November.

Dorsey tweeted Tuesday that he was "really happy" about Musk joining the board.

"He cares deeply about our world and Twitter’s role in it," Dorsey wrote. "Parag and Elon both lead with their hearts, and they will be an incredible team."

Musk's board seat will give him a say about the company's broader direction, something that he has routinely discussed on his Twitter account, where has decried the company's moderation efforts. Musk tweeted last month that Twitter was a threat to democracy.

"Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy," he tweeted in March.

It's unclear exactly what changes Musk might push for, but on Monday night he tweeted a poll asking if users wanted an edit button, an idea that has previously been knocked down by Twitter leadership.

Agrawal seemed to imply that the results of the poll could be important.

The poll received almost 3 million votes, with 76 percent voting "yes."

Musk's addition to the board was met with quick support from some conservatives who have argued that Twitter unfairly censors them and have called for former President Donald Trump to be unbanned from the platform.

Twitter's stock price jumped about 6 percent in premarket trading, and is up almost 30 percent since Musk's disclosure of his Twitter holdings.

In a note published Monday prior to the board announcement, Jefferies analyst Brent Thill said the stock surge could prove to "an over-reaction" given the unclear rationale behind Musk’s investment. And MKM Partners' managing director Rohit Kulkarni downgraded Twitter shares from "buy" to neutral" Tuesday given the uncertainties of the new situation. He also said the chances Twitter goes private have now increased.

"Twitter does not have multiple classes of shares, which likely reduces the number of approval hurdles," Kulkarni wrote, adding that Dorsey is also planning to step away from the board this year. "And, we believe Twitter’s long-awaited turnaround could be completed more efficiently away from the public scrutiny."