Elon Musk vows to step aside as Twitter CEO once a successor is found

Elon Musk on Tuesday said he would resign as Twitter’s chief executive officer as soon as he has found someone “foolish enough to take the job”, bowing to the result of a poll of the platform’s users he conducted at the weekend.

Musk also indicated he would continue to run the company’s “software and server teams” after stepping down, suggesting he will remain closely involved in day-to-day operations and product development at the social networking site.

The Tesla and SpaceX boss revealed his decision in a tweet late on Tuesday, nearly two days after the conclusion of a poll in which he asked users of the platform whether he should continue as chief executive, promising to abide by the result. The poll drew 17.5mn votes, with 57.5 per cent calling for him to step down.

Musk indicated at the time he acquired Twitter that he was likely to only act as chief executive for an interim period. But his abrupt decision to throw open the question of the company’s leadership after less than two months surprised many observers. It came in the wake of an upheaval that has resulted in the sacking or resignation of more than half the company’s staff and the loss of some of its biggest advertisers, leading Musk to warn of potential bankruptcy.

Musk on Monday claimed he had not yet identified a new CEO, tweeting in response to a suggestion he already had a succession plan: “No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor.”

The likelihood that the top job at Twitter would become available in the months after a Musk takeover has made the position the subject of intense speculation in the tech world for much of this year. But the controversy and instability that he has stirred up in his frantic seven weeks at the helm, along with the fact that a successor will have to report to one of the most demanding bosses, has left doubts about how many top candidates there will be.

In response to one Twitter user who volunteered to take on the job, Musk tweeted: “You must like pain a lot. One catch: you have to invest your life savings in Twitter and it has been in the fast lane to bankruptcy since May. Still want the job?”

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