Elon Musk to lay off half of Twitter staff to cut costs after ‘overpaying’ for social network
- The billionaire who also runs Tesla plans to eliminate 3,700 jobs at Twitter after agreeing to buy it for US$44 billion before the stock price plunged
- Employees have been bracing for lay-offs since Musk closed the deal, but current planned cuts are lower than the 75 per cent investors were previously told
Twitter’s new owner aims to inform affected staffers on Friday, said the people, who requested anonymity discussing non-public plans. Musk also intends to reverse the company’s existing work-from-anywhere policy, asking remaining employees to report to offices – though some exceptions could be made, the people said.
Musk and a team of advisers have been weighing a range of scenarios for job cuts and other policy changes at San Francisco-based Twitter, the people said, adding that the terms of the headcount reduction could still change. In one scenario being considered, laid off workers will be offered 60 days’ worth of severance pay, two of the people said.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Musk is under pressure to find ways to slash costs of a business for which he says he overpaid. The billionaire agreed to pay US$54.20 a share in April just as markets tumbled. He then tried for months to get out of the transaction, alleging that the company misled him about the prevalence of fake accounts. Twitter sued to force Musk to make good on his agreement, and in recent weeks, Musk caved, resigning himself to closing the deal at the agreed-upon terms. The take-private deal closed Thursday.
Twitter employees have been bracing for lay-offs ever since Musk took over and immediately ousted much of the top executive team, including chief executive officer Parag Agrawal, finance chief Ned Segal and senior legal staffers Vijaya Gadde and Sean Edgett. In the days that followed, other departures have included chief marketing officer Leslie Berland, chief customer officer Sarah Personette, and Jean-Philippe Maheu, who was vice-president of global client solutions.
Musk anointed himself “Chief Twit” in his bio on the social network. Bloomberg reported earlier that he would take on the role of interim CEO himself. He also dissolved the company’s board and became sole director, saying later that it’s “just temporary”.
Over the weekend, a few employees with director and vice-president jobs were cut, people familiar with the matter said. Other leaders were asked to make lists of employees on their teams who could be cut, the people said.
In recent weeks, Musk started hinting at his staffing priorities, saying he wants to focus on the core product. “Software engineering, server operations & design will rule the roost,” he tweeted in early October.