After the social media company confirmed on Tuesday that Tesla CEO Elon Musk had joined its board of directors, former Tesla board member Steve Westly warned Twitter that it would have to learn to work at Elon Musk’s pace.
“My advice to Twitter executives is put on your track shoes now because Elon is going to push you to pick up the pace,” Westly told Bloomberg on Tuesday. “Here we are day one into this and he’s already saying ‘Hey, maybe it’s time to get that edit function in there.’ I think he’s going to shake things up,” the Tesla investor added.
Tesla’s CEO is also known for his intensity. He has pushed for lofty goals at Tesla and SpaceX, and has been known to work up to 120 hours a week and sleep on the production floor. Former executives have stated the billionaire can be challenging to work for, prone to bouts of rage and even instances of rage-firing workers — claims he has categorically refuted, branding them “false” on Twitter and saying he provides “clear and frank” feedback to colleagues.
Before the appointment that Musk had joined Twitter’s board, the billionaire tweeted a poll: “Do you want an edit button?” A day later, Twitter said that it had been working on an edit button for the app, though the firm denied that this was related to Musk’s poll.
Elon Musk said that he is “looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months!” Analysts on Wall Street have suggested that Musk’s suggestions for Twitter may lead to a dispute with the company’s CEO, Parag Agrawal.
“It’s not going to be quiet,” Westly predicted Musk’s future interactions with Agrawal. Musk can be “a bit temperamental and irascible,” according to the managing partner and founder of venture fund The Westly Group, but his presence might be a “big win for Twitter.”
Finally, Westly believes Musk may help motivate Twitter into the future and serve as a model for other Fortune 500 firms seeking to make direct contact with their customers.
Musk is one of Twitter’s most influential users, with over 80 million followers, although he has been vocal in his criticism of the app in the past. On March 25, he launched a poll to determine whether the platform adhered to “free speech” norms. Musk appeared to criticize Agrawal immediately after he overtook Jack Dorsey as CEO in December. He tweeted a photoshopped image of Joseph Stalin and former Soviet official Nikolai Yezhov, with Agrawal’s head on Stalin and Dorsey’s on Yezhov.
Twitter stock has risen this week as a result of Musk’s Monday announcement that he had taken a 9.2% stake in the social media company and Tuesday’s announcement that he had joined the board. Shares closed at $50.98 on Tuesday, up over 30% from the previous day’s close. They are still trading at roughly $50 per share.