By Chavi Mehta and Sheila Dang
(Reuters) – Elon Musk said on Thursday he has found a new chief executive for Twitter without naming the person and that he will transition to the role of chief technology officer of the social media platform within the next few weeks.
“Excited to announce that I’ve hired a new CEO for X/Twitter. She will be starting in ~6 weeks!,” Musk said in a tweet.
Musk has previously not named any prospective candidates, and it was unclear who he had named as his successor, although Blind, an anonymous messaging app for tech employees, was ripe with speculation.
Former YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and a top executive at Musk’ brain-chip startup Neuralink, Shivon Zilis, were among the names being discussed on Blind, according to a former employee who viewed the comments.
Top female executives from Musk’s other companies, such as SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell and Tesla Inc Chair Robyn Denholm could also be named, according to Jason Benowitz, senior portfolio manager at CI Roosevelt.
Musk said he will transition to the role of Twitter’s executive chair, along with the role of CTO, where he would oversee product, software & sysops.
Tesla shares closed 2.1% higher on Thursday and analysts said the announcement helped alleviate some investor concerns around Musk’s active involvement at Twitter.
The electric-vehicle maker’s shares had taken a hit after Musk took over Twitter in October and investors had said the move could stretch the billionaire thin.
“The boat anchor called Twitter is loosened from Musk’s ankle. Now he can get back to spending more time creating value at Tesla,” Craig Irwin, analyst at Roth MKM, said.
In a Twitter poll started by Musk in December, 57.5% users voted for him to step down as CEO of the social media platform.
“I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job!” Musk had said then.
The billionaire’s first two weeks as the new Twitter owner in October were marked by rapid change. He quickly fired Twitter’s previous CEO Parag Agrawal and other senior leaders and then laid off half its staff in November.
Musk, a self-proclaimed free speech absolutist has said he took over Twitter to prevent the platform from becoming an echo chamber for hate and division.
He also said he would “defeat” spam bots on the platform, a key area of his tussle with Twitter’s board over his back and forth on the $44 billion buyout of the company.
(Reporting by Chavi Mehta, Ananya Mariam Rajesh and Juby Babu in Bengaluru and Sheila Dang in New York; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)