Elon Musk is set to join Twitter’s board of directors, a move that potentially boosts his influence over the social media platform and which comes one day after it was disclosed that he had become the company’s largest individual shareholder.
Twitter said in a regulatory filing Tuesday that it plans to appoint the Tesla and SpaceX CEO to its board for a term that ends in 2024. As part of the deal, Musk has agreed not to acquire more than 14.9% of the company’s shares while he remains on the board.
On Monday, Twitter said in a filing that Musk had bought 9.2% of its shares. The news came as somewhat of a surprise, after Musk had tweeted multiple times in recent weeks criticizing the company’s policies and mulling whether a new social media platform was needed.
“I’m excited to share that we’re appointing @elonmusk to our board!” Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said in a tweet Tuesday. “Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board.”
Agrawal noted that Musk is both a “passionate believer” and an “intense critic” of the company, and that he believed Musk’s presence in the boardroom would add long-term value. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s cofounder and former CEO, also appeared to welcome the news, noting Musk “cares deeply about our world and Twitter’s role in it,” and that Musk and Agrawal “will be an incredible team.”
Musk tweeted he is “looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months!
It’s not entirely clear what improvements Musk has in mind. In recent weeks, Musk has suggested on Twitter that the platform does not allow free enough speech, and said it should make its algorithm open source. On Monday night, he also polled his followers about whether they “want an edit button,” a longtime feature request, if a divisive one, from many Twitter users.
After climbing more than 27% Monday on the news of Musk’s stock purchase, Twitter shares gained another 5% Tuesday morning.
Twitter has become an important part of Musk’s personal brand. He has used the site to connect with his legions of fans and to opine on everything from Tesla’s stock price to current events. But his presence on the platform has also landed him in hot water, including when tweets about potentially taking Tesla private resulted in a lawsuit from the Securities and Exchange Commission and a settlement requiring him to have certain tweets about the company pre-reviewed.
Musk’s presence on the board could be a curveball for any plans Agrawal, who has been Twitter’s CEO for fewer than six months, had for the company.
“It’s time to get out the popcorn and watch the developments over the coming months with Musk on the Board,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in an investor note Tuesday. He added that Musk joining the board could “lead to a host of strategic initiatives which could include a range of near-term and long-term possibilities out of the gates for the company still struggling in a social media arms race.”
Twitter spokesperson Adrian Zamora on Tuesday noted that even once he’s on the board, Musk will still be subject to its rules and community guidelines, and he won’t have a direct role in setting its policies.
“Twitter is committed to impartiality in the development and enforcement of its policies and rules,” Zamora said in a statement provided to CNN Business. “Our policy decisions are not determined by the Board or shareholders. As always our Board plays an important advisory and feedback role across the entirety of our service. Our day to day operations and decisions are made by Twitter management and employees.”