Elon Musk’s decision to fire Twitter’s top execs including CEO Parag Agrawal immediately after taking over seemed like a bid to make a statement, but there was more to it. A New York Times report, later labelled false by Musk, claimed that he had sacked them to avoid payouts for stocks options which were supposed to be granted on November 1. Although Twitter has assured that employees will receive payouts for vested stocks, there may be more stress in store for those who won’t be sacked.
Unreal work hours and no respite
Reports have emerged that engineers at Twitter have received an ultimatum to work for 12 hours a day, seven days a week to meet the deadlines set by Musk. They can’t talk about comp offs or payment for the extra hours, instead they’ll have to slog it off just to avoid getting fired. Employees have till the first week of November to meet deadlines, including the rollout of Musk’s much talked about paid blue tick verification feature.
Top brass walks off even before layoffs
Musk has also reportedly threatened to trim the workforce by 50 per cent in order to ensure compliance with his orders, and about 2000 workers may be fired in the first phase of layoffs. Even before the staff faces job cuts, the entire board has been fired leaving Musk as the lone director, and top officials are also reported to have quit. Among them, Twitter’s ad boss Sarah Personette tweeted about her resignation, while diversity chief Dalana Brand announced her exit on LinkedIn.
This is going to be a further blow for advertiser confidence in Twitter, at a time when top brands such as General Motors and Ford have pulled their ads back from the platform. Top advertising firm IPG has also advised its top clients including Coca-Cola and American Express to hold on and watch before proceeding with campaigns on Twitter.
Employees concerned over Musk’s history
Vested shares refer to stocks that give a stake in the firm to employees or founders leaving the company, mostly after retirement, to reward them. They receive 100 per cent rights to redeem these stock options over a particular period of time. Under Musk, Tesla has already faced lawsuits for firing people just before they received stock grants, and that’s why Twitter employees are spooked.