Having asked Twitter users whether he should stay on as CEO, and not gotten the result he was apparently expecting, Elon Musk has said he will abide by the outcome and step down. There is, however, a caveat, since this will only happen if Musk can find a replacement he deems suitable. How long that will take remains an open question. Moreover, Musk has signaled support for the idea of restricting future such polls to those paying for blue ticks, which might ensure future results match his preferences.
Having bought Twitter for much more than most people thought it was worth, Musk set about making a string of changes, from welcoming back practitioners of hate speech and going easy on threats of violence to banning critical journalists.
Although Musk has proudly pointed to increased Twitter use since his takeover, there’s plenty going on that suggests this may not be making a more sustainable site. Even some of those who admire Musk are questioning whether he can provide the leadership needed to Twitter, Tesla, and SpaceX all at once. And the numbers of his admirers appear to be shrinking.
Musk responded by running a poll, and the 17.5 million people participating certainly helped with his engagement stats. Unfortunately for Musk, the result was not exactly a vote of confidence in his reign.
Whether this will satisfy the 10 million people who voted "yes" in the poll is certainly doubtful. For one thing, the wording gives Musk plenty of opportunity to stretch out his time in charge as long as he likes. For another, it’s always possible the new CEO will prove even more alienating to those unhappy with Musk’s decisions. Following photographs of them watching the World Cup together, there has been speculation Jared Kushner, son-in-law and former senior adviser to former U.S. President Donald Trump, might be Musk’s replacement.
Tesla shareholders, or Mars colonization fans, whose vote reflected a desire for Musk to get back to focusing on his previous companies might see him continuing to run the software and servers teams as an improvement, but not a solution. It’s also far from clear whether the new CEO will really be in control, or just dealing with details while Musk continues to make the big decisions.
Although some have speculated this is the result Musk wanted so he could resign while looking gracious, that’s not really the vibe Musk’s responses to others’ commentary give.
It's not clear how this promise fits with Musk's proclivity for only making big decisions after running polls.