by Rob Lownie
Monday, 19
December 2022
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16:30

Who could replace Elon Musk as Twitter’s new CEO?

The tech entrepreneur may be stepping down sooner than expected
by Rob Lownie
Sometimes the hardest word is goodbye.

Yesterday Elon Musk ran a Twitter poll asking whether he should step down as head of the social media company. By voting’s close this morning, 17.5 million people had weighed in, with over 57% of them saying that Musk should indeed relinquish his position (presumably that of CEO, while he would remain owner).

If the tech entrepreneur is as good as his word to “abide by the results of this poll”, Twitter will need a new chief executive. Here are the potential runners and riders for the job:


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1. David Sacks

The investor and founding member (alongside Musk) of PayPal has been a key figure behind Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, pre-empting some of his friend’s more eye-catching decisions in charge. A partner at Craft Ventures, Sacks also shares the Tesla chief’s outspoken approach on anything from Covid to Ukraine, as well as a bullish stance on free speech, telling UnHerd last month that he hoped Musk’s takeover would “inspire other people to push back against these authoritarian tendencies in the West”. If Musk does cede control of Twitter, at least nominally, he would likely hand over to a trusted lieutenant like Sacks.

2. Jared Kushner

The son-in-law of former president Donald Trump was pictured with Musk at Sunday’s World Cup final in Qatar, prompting speculation over the connection between the two men. A White House senior advisor during the Trump administration, Kushner’s private equity firm this year received a $2 billion investment from a Saudi Arabian fund led by the country’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Twitter’s second largest shareholder, after Musk, is another Saudi royal, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

3. Lex Fridman

Fridman, a Russian-American computer scientist and podcast host, threw his hat into the ring yesterday, offering to run the company for free while “focus[ing] on great engineering and increasing the amount of love in the world”. Musk responded to Fridman’s suggestion approvingly, while the MIT researcher (whose area of interest is artificial intelligence) received endorsement from, among others, Jordan Peterson. Fridman has some insight into how Twitter is run: his eponymous podcast has played host not only to the company’s current head but also to its co-founder, Jack Dorsey.

4. Changpeng Zhao

The co-founder and CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Binance is also a major investor in Twitter, with his company reportedly pumping half a billion dollars into Musk’s project. Zhao, known by his initials CZ, has a net worth of over $13 billion but faces scrutiny into his running of Binance, following the collapse of rival exchange FTX. A supporter of Musk’s, CZ today implored Twitter’s current chief executive to stay in post, but could muster interest in overseeing the operation himself, not least with his own finances potentially under threat.

5. Snoop Dogg

If Musk’s departure is determined by popular vote, it would be fitting for his successor to be selected by the same method. Enter rapper Snoop Dogg, who asked his followers whether he should run Twitter before receiving over a million votes in favour. As the owner of the renowned label Death Row Records, he has some executive experience too. In 2014 the artist behind ‘Doggy Dogg World’ was one of several investors, alongside Peter Thiel and Sam Altman, to contribute a combined $50 million in fundraising for Reddit.

These possibilities are entirely contingent on Musk actually leaving his post, and even if he does step down, some believe that he will continue to pull strings from the shadows. The most likely successor would be an Elon acolyte, like the aforementioned Sacks or his podcast co-host and fellow member of the inner circle Jason Calacanis. That said, with an owner this unpredictable Twitter users should brace themselves, as ever with Musk, for the unexpected.

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Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago

Sacks – and it’s not even close. He’s the only credible candidate on this list. Has tonnes of real business and tech experience and a commitment to free speech.

Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
1 month ago

I like Musk and you have to respect what he has achieved but I can’t help thinking he might actually be the Antichrist. Thorn & Tesla. 5 letters both beginning with T. Smiley face emoji.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 month ago

David or Lex… hmmmm

ml holton
ml holton
1 month ago

… Edward Snowden might be an interesting choice as CEO ~ (aka Chief Editor & Overseer). While controversial, few can doubt he’s an avowed ‘citizen activist’ …

But right now, a seasoned & competent CEO needs to step-into-the-breach to stop the hemorrhaging of Twitizens & big-ticket advertisers before the whole enterprise hits rock bottom. Twitter definitely needs a somewhat bland head-honcho now for PR purposes in order to field attacks from all quarters. ~ ie. Job 1. ‘shut-down the on-going corporate drama.’

OR, bring in someone like Mr. Beast (the Youtube sensation) to kick-start the whole enterprise!

Within months, it will either explode ~ or implode. Twitter could very easily be done by the end of 2023. ~ Bets on.

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 month ago

I have always found Lex scary. There is something, to me, of a kind of inhuman ethos in his AI positions. He always comes on as being all about love and morality, only to me it seems to be an intellectual kind of feel, rather than a more humanity kind of love; I am reminded of a kinder, nicer, Yuval Noah Harari. (and I think him an acolyte of Satan)

But Musk is sticking those chips into monkey brains all the time, to make a monkey/AI cyborg in his business ‘NuralLink’ which I think is right out of Revelations 13:16 – and so Musk and Lex are coming from the same camp.

Transhumanism… that is what all the above are really about, and to me that is the end of man and the opening of eternal darkness. Natrually I would like some Traditional Liberal, the kind of thinker who wrote the Constitution of the USA rather than some extrodinairly dark AI creator. I would say Unherd’s Bret Weinstein would get my vote.

He is a bit of a chump, but rapidly becoming a conservative thinker as he was a totally bought in Liberal who was mugged by reality at Evergreen, and then again by covid. I recommend you watch him at Governer DeSantis’s grand jury discuss on covid – it is on the media platform Rumble, and has at least 3 covid thinkers who have been on Unherd on the covid topic.

here it is, Jo Ladapo and a dozen top scientists and some vax injured and so on.. https://rumble.com/v20n6e4-covid-19-mrna-vaccine-accountability-roundtable-with-facebook-comments.html

So Musk – keep this dark tech hell out of the hands of Techies – and put it in the hands of ethically humans – and Bret would be the best choice as he is really on his road to Damascus in thinking on Humanity and power and ethos.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 month ago

I hope it’s Snoop Dogg, and I don’t even like rap music!

Mustard Clementine
Mustard Clementine
1 month ago

Compared to the other people on that list, I would seriously expect Snoop Dogg to perform better.
I think he would at least understand that Twitter is primarily about communication and people, not technology.
Creatives should assume more lead roles.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mustard Clementine
Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 month ago

If these are the candidates then Snoop the obvious choice.
Jared Kushner?!?!? That’s pretty funny!

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 month ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

That was the one name I noticed…

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 month ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

The name was included in jest – he was at the WC with Musk.
Then again, who can discount him.