How Twitter staff reacted to a meeting on the moss deal
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal met with employees Monday afternoon to discuss the social media company’s sale to Elon Musk. Mr. Agrawal was joined by Bret Taylor, chairman of the Twitter board of directors, for the employee question and answer session.
In a nearly hour-long meeting, employees questioned Mr. Agrawal and Mr. Taylor about how the deal came about, what would happen to their pay and work, and how Mr. Musk could change Twitter.
“It is important to recognize that you all have different feelings about what is happening,” said Mr. Agrawal, according to two people who attended the meeting and were not allowed to speak publicly. “Some of you are worried, some of you are excited, and some of you are waiting to see how it goes. I know this affects all of you personally. “
“It’s an exciting day,” added Taylor, “and I just want to acknowledge that.” A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment on the meeting.
Employees were frustrated that Twitter’s management was silent as it stripped the terms of the deal with Mr. Musk, who said it would change a lot in the way Twitter operates, including the policies it uses to moderate tweets. In a statement Monday, Mr. Musk said he will focus on “new features, making algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating spam bots and authenticating all humans.”
Twitter workers got worried on the impact on their equity compensation when Mr. Musk turned Twitter into a private company and on the cultural changes it would cause. But others celebrated Musk’s bid for the company and said they believed his impact would be positive.
Mr. Agrawal told employees their stock options would convert to cash upon closing the deal with Mr. Musk, which he said would take three to six months. Employees will receive the same benefit packages for one year after the deal is concluded, Mr. Agrawal added, according to two people familiar with the meeting.
In response to a question from an employee about whether former President Donald J. Trump would be allowed to return to Twitter, Mr. Agrawal deferred, leaving the question for Mr. Musk to answer once he takes over the company. . “We are constantly evolving our policies,” Agrawal said. “Once the deal is done, we don’t know which direction this company will go in.”
Mr. Taylor addressed employee concerns about his silence. “I know there have been a lot of twists and turns along the way, all in public, and I know we haven’t been able to share any information with you,” but he and Mr. Agrawal were bound by their fiduciary duty to the shareholders to keep quiet and not to share updates with employees, he said.
Twitter’s board of directors will be dissolved when the company goes private, Taylor said. Although the council had adopted a defensive tactic known as “poisonous pillTo prevent Musk from acquiring more Twitter shares, Taylor said the move was not intended to prevent Musk from buying the company, but simply to bring the negotiation process back under the control of the board.
Mr. Agrawal told employees that they should continue working on their current projects and that he would try to arrange time to ask Mr. Musk questions. He confirmed that he would continue to work as well, remaining as CEO at least until the deal with Musk is closed.
“He wants Twitter to be a powerful and positive force in the world, just like all of us,” Agrawal said of Musk, noting that he had talked to the billionaire only a few times and made assumptions from those conversations. “He thinks Twitter is important.”
He urged employees to “run Twitter as we always have,” adding that “the way we run the company, the decisions we make and the positive changes we drive, will depend on us and under our control.”