If you exaggerate it a bit, you could say: Elon Musk bought Twitter mainly because he didn't like the noses at the top of the group. Musk might put it differently and say something about free speech and wrong corporate decisions.
But the fact is: After the ban of Donald Trump, the most influential Twitter user has repeatedly complained - also directly on Twitter - that the short message service suppresses opinions that are not acceptable. And then he just decided to take over the shop himself. Just as a super rich buys his favorite restaurant without further ado because he has fallen out with the owner over the menu.
Except this store costs $44 billion. Musk soon realized that it was quite expensive and tried to withdraw from the deal using legal tricks. In vain, after all he had signed a binding purchase agreement. The deal was formally finalized this week. And as the first official act, the new "Chief Twit", as Musk calls himself on Twitter, threw out the old management team.
CEO Parag Agrawal and CFO Ned Segal are said to have been led by security personnel from the company's headquarters in San Francisco. Top manager Vijaya Gadde, who as head of the legal department was responsible, among other things, for action against hate speech and false information, is also said to be among the dismissed. Whether Chief Customer Officer Sarah Personette was also shaved, as some have speculated, is still unclear. Like so much else in the chaotic early days of Musk's Twitter reign (read more here).
Personette reported on Thursday about "great discussions with Elon Musk", but has not been heard from since then. Segal said goodbye to his employees via Twitter on Friday, changing his self-description to "Former CFO and current Twitter fan." General Counsel Sean Edgett also said goodbye with the words "Take good care of this place, Tweagle".
According to data from the research company Equilar, the previous head of the company Agrawal alone should receive 57.4 million dollars in compensation. Chief Financial Officer Segal will receive $44.5 million and Chief Counsel Gadde $20 million. Should top executive Personette also be resigned, she would be entitled to 19.2 million, reports the Washington Post, citing data from Equilar, who are considered experts on compensation issues.
If the figures are correct, the severance payments would be many times what Twitter managers regularly earn in a year. Agrawal's base salary is said to have been $1 million a year, while Segal and Gadde's were $600,000 each. According to the applicable contracts, Musk not only has to pay the evicted an extra annual salary, but above all sell their share packages. As is common in US public companies, a large part of Twitter executives' pay was in the form of stock options, the opportunity to receive Twitter stock in the future. Musk now has to pay them off. Since the Tesla founder also takes Twitter completely off the stock exchange, he also has to buy the shares from the Twitter bosses that they have already acquired. According to CNN, the trio of Agraval, Segal and Gadde alone will add another 65 million share proceeds to the $122 million severance payment. In total, the trio left the yard with 187 million dollars.
It is possible that the last word on the matter has not yet been spoken. According to a media report, Musk added "for cause" to the terminations. This is a legal term meant to indicate misconduct by Twitter executives, and Musk could use it to try to avoid severance payments. It is unclear which alleged misconduct Musk wants to use. In the course of the takeover battle, he accused Twitter of making false statements about the number of fake accounts on the platform.
There was also speculation over the weekend that Musk could also announce resignations outside of top management before November 1st to prevent compensation from being due by that date. Musk had announced massive job cuts in the run-up to the takeover.
There was no public statement from the new Chief Twit until Sunday afternoon. He shared an email via Twitter that he received at the start of his new job on Twitter. It's an arguably auto-generated invitation to a new leadership training session on "what it takes to be a good Twitter manager" and how to take good care of your employees. She seems to amuse Musk greatly.
Quellen: Washington Post / CNN / Reuters / The Information