Who could be Twitter’s next CEO?

Taking over the company would be a poisoned chalice but one that might interest some.

The last two months at Twitter have been a real rollercoaster ride. From laying off the majority of staff to changing policies on a dime, the social media platform has looked very different under Elon Musk than it did before. One of the ways in which Twitter is run is through the voice of the people, as expressed through Twitter polls – and it’s one of those polls which has caused the most momentous change of all.

On December 18, Musk asked his followers whether he should step down as head of Twitter, confirming that he would abide by the results of the survey of Twitter users. In all, more than 17.5 million people voted – 57.5% of them saying yes, they thought that Musk should step down. Three days later, Musk confirmed he would, but on one condition:

The decision has set loose speculation about who could possibly replace Musk as the head of the social media platform, with rumors resounding about the person who might become the new chief of Twitter.

The runners and riders

Among the names that have been mentioned is Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of former US president Donald Trump, with whom Musk was seen hobnobbing at the World Cup final in Qatar around the same time he surveyed his users about whether they wanted him in charge of Twitter in the long run. However, Kushner would be a highly divisive pick, with his political affiliation likely to rile up Democrat regulators in the United States and spooking half of Twitter’s user base.

Others who seem more likely to replace Musk are Sriram Krishnan, who is known to be close to Musk and is within the entrepreneur’s core team of supporters currently helping reshape the platform in Musk’s image. Krishnan is a former Twitter employee, which means he has better oversight than most of how the platform works – and, therefore, what is needed in order to make it a success.

Another potential name in the frame is David Sacks, the technology investor, and podcaster who has been tied to Musk since the founding of PayPal. However, whether Sacks would want the job of overseeing such a significant platform, with all the issues that come with that, including interacting with regulators looking to crack down on Twitter’s power, is yet to be seen.

The issues

There’s just one major problem with the speculation about who would replace Musk: it’s unlikely that anyone would be willing to do so easily. Musk has made no secret of the fact that he wants to overhaul how Twitter is run and shape the site in his own image. That has so far involved a lot of controversial, bumpy decisions.

“Achieving this cultural shift at Twitter will be more difficult as workers there are motivated by a different ethos, in comparison to those galvanised workers wanting to move consumers away from traditional powered cars or to populate other planets,” says Jonathan Lord, lecturer in human resource management and employment law at the University of Salford Business School.

And the job is only half done. Whoever Musk gets in to replace him at Twitter would likely have to continue to carry out that plan, which means that they wouldn’t necessarily be fully in charge. Instead, they’d be doing the bidding of the current Twitter owner, who is likely to say that his $44 billion investment in the company means it's his way or the highway.

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