Elon Musk makes an eleventh-hour about-turn, won't sit on Twitter's board after all

Elon Musk
Elon Musk (Image credit: Recode)

What you need to know

  • Elon Musk is no longer joining Twitter's board.
  • Musk bought almost $2.9 billion in Twitter shares recently.
  • Joining the board would have prevented Musk from buying more than 14.9% of the company.

Twitter won't have Tesla CEO Elon Musk on its board after all despite both parties saying that it would. The decision was announced on Sunday evening, the day after Musk was supposed to take his place on the board.

The announcement was made by Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and noted that Musk's "appointment to the board as to become officially effective 4/9," but that didn't happen after he "shared that same day that he will no longer be joining the board." Perhaps tellingly, Agrawal says that he believes it to be "for the best" that Musk won't be involved with board matters, although Twitter will "always value input from our shareholders whether they are on our Board or not."

This all comes after Musk bought almost $2.9 billion in Twitter stock and it was later confirmed that he would be taking a place on the social network's board. Ever since, Musk has been tweeting about various things, not least the fact that the company's San Francisco HQ should be turned into a homeless shelter because nobody turned up. Musk also asked whether Twitter was dying because those with the biggest follower counts weren't actually tweeting.

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Now comes the news that, perhaps, those tweets weren't all that well-received after all.

You can read Agrawal's full statement to Twitter employees below:

Elon Musk has decided not to join our Board. Here's what I can share about what happened.The Board and I had many discussions about Elon joining the board, and with Elon directly. We were excited to collaborate and clear about the risks. We also believed that having Elon as a fiduciary of the company where he, like all board members, has to act in the best interests of the company and all our shareholders, was the best path forward. The board offered him a seat.We announced on Tuesday that Elon would be appointed to the Board contingent on a background check and formal acceptance. Elon's appointment to the board was to become officially effective 4/9, but Elon shared that same day that he will no longer be joining the board. I believe this is for the best. We have and will always value input from our shareholders whether they are on our Board or not. Elon is our biggest shareholder and we will remain open to his input.There will be distractions ahead, but our goals and priorities remain unchanged. The decisions we make and how we execute is in our hands, no-one else's. Let's tune out the noise, and stay focused on the work and what we're building.

Musk may also be playing a long game here. If he had joined the board, he would have been prevented from buying more than 14.9% of the company — a roadblock he no longer needs to concern himself with.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.