ONE the number of managers has already left the company in the wake of Musk launching its takeover bid, affecting countless others further down the food chain. “The feeling internally is that people have applied for jobs and they will keep looking for jobs,” says the first Twitter employee.
Employees say they felt particularly outraged at the lack of management support when a number of employees were caught in stings by Project Veritas designed to catch them in public saying negative things about their potential new boss. “I signed up for Twitter and wanted to stay,” says the first employee. “I liked my job. Nothing would keep me here now – even if they returned to exactly what they were.”
The brain drain is likely to continue, with current employees worried about Twitter revocation of job offers to applicants and the impact that is likely to have on who applies in the future. A job applicant who was offered a position on Twitter this year, only to have it revoked during the takeover, says they would apply for the company again, but not before asking the manager they would end up reporting to on internal policy and plans for the future.
Others are not so sure that the reputation risks for Twitter are as great as those in the company fear. “The real concern was that he would democratize it too much and allow people to say things that would be inappropriate about it,” said Cary Cooper, a business professor at Manchester Business School. “Shareholders would be concerned because he has commercial knowledge.”
Cooper believes, however, that the investor impact could be more significant. ‘There is a disadvantage, I think, because [Musk] would have thought of it as a commercial acquisition, as well as a platform, ”he says. Cooper believes Twitter’s top management team will have to step up to the plate in Musk’s absence and introduce a new business plan to revitalize the company.
But there is little indication that this is likely to happen, says Debra Aho Williamson, principal at market research firm Insider Intelligence. “The last few months have been a huge distraction for Twitter, preventing it from focusing on its core business foundation,” she says. “If Musk is able to terminate the deal, Twitter will still be left with the same problems it had before he came on the scene. Its user growth is declining. And while ad revenue is still growing marginally, Twitter is now dealing with a declining economy that could push advertising spending across social platforms. “
There is also the issue of staffing. The accumulation of problems is a concern that is likely to hit the minds of Twitter investors. Vanguard Group, Morgan Stanley, BlackRock, Kingdom Holding Group and State Street did not answer questions about whether they thought Twitter should fight Musk in court or have the deal scrapped. Ives believes investors would prefer a Musk-free future for Twitter, with Agrawal leading the company and receiving compensation from Musk. Legal experts believe Musk will must pay a significant amount if he does not end up buying the company. For the employees, it is almost the same. “I can not imagine at all what it will be like in five years,” says the first Twitter employee. “But I know no one I know will be here.”
Which route these investors decide on can be crucial for the next few months – and for whether Twitter can recover from the damaging events of the past three months. Twitter’s stock price has fluctuated wildly since Musk’s involvement in the company was first announced on April 4, when he declared a 9 percent stake in the company. The price rose 27 percent on the day his share was announced to $ 49.97. It then peaked at $ 51.70 on April 25, when Twitter’s board accepted Musk’s offer before overturning, as Musk began describing the many issues he had with the platform and finding reasons to withdraw from the deal.
Today, Twitter’s stock price of $ 34.64 opened, 12 percent below value just before Musk merged with the company. It has fallen further since. “Musk basically fucked around with us, fucked with the stock price, catalyzed a lot of layoffs and cuts,” the first Twitter employee told WIRED. “Morale is so damn low that no one wants to be here now anyway.”
Additional reporting by Vittoria Elliott