Elon Musk has begun to assemble a new group of senior leaders at the top of the social network.
Elon Musk, who acquired Twitter Inc. two weeks ago and promptly ousted nearly all of its top executives, has begun assembling a new group of senior leaders at the top of the social network.
The company began reshuffling teams this week following a massive round of job cuts that eliminated roughly half of its more than 7,000 workers on Nov. 4. Among the managers who remained after the dust settled, some began to emerge as managers for some of Twitter’s employees. major internal divisions as Musk looks to quickly overhaul the struggling business.
The emergence of a new leadership under Musk has provided at least a glimmer of internal stability after a two-week period of chaos. Most visible among the new guard has been Yoel Roth, a Twitter veteran who reports to Musk and now heads all of the company’s Trust & Safety efforts, some of which previously fell to other executives, according to people familiar with the matter. . That includes content policies, election efforts, and plans to combat spam and fake accounts.
Roth has been regularly sending out tweet threads to share details about Twitter’s efforts to combat election misinformation, an area of concern for many critics as company changes unfold on the eve of the US midterm vote. Roth has also been trying to explain the site’s plans around account verification, which have evolved at a dizzying pace. Musk has been retweeting and replying to Roth’s posts, and encouraging others to read them, a signal to followers that Roth is someone the billionaire trusts to deliver the company’s message.
On the product side, Behnam Rezaei, listed as senior director of engineering on his LinkedIn, now oversees all engineering and product development on Twitter, reporting directly to Musk, according to multiple people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak on behalf of the company. Twitter previously separated its product groups into three organizations: Bluebird, the consumer products group; Goldbird, the group of income-generating products; and Redbird, a group of engineering and infrastructure products. These divisions no longer exist, according to several of the people.
Twitter’s marketing and sales divisions are now headed by Robin Wheeler, the people said. Wheeler, a vice president of sales who also reports to Musk, has led the social network’s efforts to quell advertisers’ concerns about its branding and content policies. On Wednesday, he hosted a town hall-style meeting on Twitter Spaces with Musk.
The session was intended for advertisers, but reached an audience of more than 100,000 listeners. Last week, Wheeler introduced Musk during a separate private call with a group of marketing advisers and senior CMOs from other companies, people familiar with the matter said.
Wheeler showed courage during the Twitter Spaces Q&A, and didn’t shy away from asking Musk tough questions. She said she was representing advertisers’ concerns and asked about such thorny issues as hate speech, brand safety and how the company plans to tackle content moderation.
The company’s new structure is still being worked out and it’s possible, even likely, that things will continue to change, people familiar with the matter said.
Musk sent an email to his workers for the first time on Wednesday night to prepare them for the “tough times ahead” and to ban remote work unless he personally approved it.
Musk, who styled himself “Chief Twit” upon his acquisition, continues to get some tips and advice from a group of close friends and former colleagues, people with knowledge of the matter said. That includes his former PayPal colleague David Sacks; friend and investor Jason Calacanis; Andreessen Horowitz partner Sriram Krishnan; SpaceX investor and board member Antonio Gracias; and Alex Spiro, Musk’s attorney.
This group, which was most active immediately after the deal closed, helped advise Musk on everything from product ideas to firings to Twitter’s new leadership, the people said. For example, Rezaei and other engineers suddenly taking up high-level positions at Twitter worked closely with Krishnan when he was on staff at the company a few years ago.
Sacks, for his part, recently tried to suggest that his role on Twitter is not formal, tweeting: “I don’t have an official role. I’m not ‘in charge’ of anything. I’m doing what investors try to do in Silicon Valley, which is to be helpful at the margins.”
Twitter’s legal split is also unresolved and it’s unclear who will ultimately take over as general counsel. Spiro, Musk’s attorney and a key player in his court battle to pull out of the $44 billion deal, has been helping the legal team in the meantime, people familiar with the matter said.
Even if things even out after the initial transition frenzy, Twitter is still far from stable. Musk, who also runs Tesla Inc. and SpaceX, is expected to eventually hire a chief executive officer, or someone in a similar role, to help run the social media company’s day-to-day operations.
Until then, Musk seems to be quickly making most of the decisions himself, and his Twitter account remains the central megaphone for communicating them.