Elon Musk, Tesla CEO and the world’s richest person, on Thursday became the owner of Twitter, months after making the first bid to buy the social media company in April. The billionaire has fired Chief Executive Parag Agrawal and Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Both the executives have left the company’s San Francisco headquarters and will not be returning. Apart from Twitter’s Indian CEO Agarwal and Segal, legal policy, trust, and safety head Vijaya Gadde was also fired, the Washington Post reported.
Musk had until Friday to complete his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter or face a court battle with the company.
In April, Twitter accepted Musk’s proposal to buy the social media service and take it private. However, Musk soon began sowing doubt about his intentions to follow through with the agreement, alleging that the company failed to adequately disclose the number of spam and fake accounts on the service.
When Musk said he was terminating the deal, Twitter sued the billionaire, alleging he “refuses to honor his obligations to Twitter and its stockholders because the deal he signed no longer serves his personal interests.”
Musk, who describes himself as a “free speech absolutist”, has criticised Twitter’s moderation policies and objected to censorship that goes beyond the requirements of the law. In May, Musk said he would reinstate former US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which was removed for allegedly inciting violence in the wake of the January 6 riots at the US Capitol.
Musk has also expressed discomfort with the platform’s reliance on advertising and is widely anticipated to oversee significant job cuts at the company, although he reportedly denied a Washington Post report suggesting he plans to slash 75 percent of the workforce.
In a lengthy message posted on Twitter before the purchase deadline on Friday, Musk, who earlier changed his Twitter bio to “Chief Twit”, denied any intention to turn Twitter into a “free-for-all hellscape”.