Elon Musk led the $44 billion acquisition Twitter and at the end of October he appointed himself director general there. Since then, he has recruited senior executives and engineers from other businesses, including SpaceX. Tesla and The Boring Company to help out at the social media company, according to internal records obtained by CNBC and conversations with recent Twitter employees.
Musk also offered partners from investment firms involved in the Twitter acquisition to work within the social media company.
It was not immediately clear how many hours anyone has worked at Twitter so far, or how much of their work can be done remotely at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters or other offices.
Shareholders are worried about how Musk’s financial commitments, split schedule and controversial Twitter decisions could affect the automaker. Shares of Tesla, which took over Twitter on October 27, are down about 25%.
Internal records obtained by CNBC showed that more than 50 Tesla employees, mostly Autopilot software engineers, were allowed to work at Twitter soon after Musk took over and were still allowed to work there as of early December. Names previously reported by CNBC include:
- Director of Software Engineering Silvio Brugada
- Rajasekar Jegannathan, Director of Infrastructure Engineering and Information Security
- Michael Outland, General Manager of DevOps
- Andrew Ross, Director of Battery Manufacturing Engineering
- Chief Information Officer Nagesh Saldi
- Autopilot Project Manager RJ Sekator
Lawyers questioned Elon Musk in a Delaware court in November about his use of Tesla talent on Twitter. The lawsuit and trial are to determine whether Tesla’s board followed the law when it awarded Musk a large CEO pay package in 2018.
The attorneys asked, “Has anyone suggested to you that maybe, as a public company, it’s not a good idea to use the resources of a public company for your private company?”
In his statement, Musk described Tesla employees working for him on Twitter as “just a volunteer job.” He also said, “It was kind of after work, if you’re just interested in evaluating — if you’re interested in helping me evaluate Twitter engineering, that would be great. It was very short-lived. I think it lasted a few days. And it’s over.” “
Musk also said: “I didn’t consider it a use of Tesla assets because I just asked for a volunteer and I didn’t specify any number of people. I don’t know what the number is, but I don’t know. I didn’t think it was 50. But it’s a small number. was. The company has 120,000 people, which is minimal, to be clear.”
A Tesla employee told CNBC that most people at the electric car company would be honored if asked to work extra hours at other Musk companies. However, most said they would think it impossible to reject Musk’s outright request without facing poor performance reviews or other consequences later. This person refused to be named because he was not authorized by the company to speak to the press.
In addition to Tesla employees, Musk enlisted the help of executives and employees from SpaceX, the reusable rocket and satellite Internet services company he founded in 2002, to help him on Twitter. SpaceX is a major US defense contractor whose revenue comes from contracts with NASA and the US Air Force.
More than a dozen SpaceX employees have been allowed to work on Twitter since early December, including:
- VP of Human Resources Brian Bjelde
- Chief Financial Officer and Head of Strategic Procurement Bret Johnson
- Director of Information Technology Joshua Ursenbach
As of early December, at least three of Musk’s top executives from his tunneling business, The Boring Company, have also been authorized to work for him on Twitter. They are:
- President Steve Davis
- Riccardo Biasini, director of electrical and software engineering
- Chief Operations Officer Jehn Balajadia
Along with employees from other companies, Musk brought in longtime friends and investors who had a stake in “Twitter 2.0” under his leadership. Some of the people who have been allowed to work in the company since the beginning of December are:
- Angel investor Jason Calacanis
- DFJ Growth Partner and Founder Randy Glein
- Andreessen Horowitz Senior Partner Sriram Krishnan (former Twitter employee)
- Samuel Pullara, Managing Director of Sutter Hill Ventures
- David Sacks, partner and co-founder of Craft Ventures
- Five people from Valor Equity Partners, including the firm’s founder Antonio Gracias and Sam Teller, Elon Musk’s former boss at Tesla and SpaceX, who is now a venture partner at Valor.
A current Twitter employee told CNBC that Musk has been “straightening out” the organizational structure at the company since early November, with many managers each having more than 20 direct reports. Most were around 10 before they took over as Tesla CEO, leaving them time for mentorship.
It’s now harder for employees to identify who’s working on which projects on Twitter, as Musk’s team has scrapped a tool called Birdhouse, which was previously used as an internal directory and organizational guide.
Spokespeople for Twitter and Musk’s other companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.