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Twitter CEO faces employee fury over Musk attacks at company-wide meeting

Twitter CEO faces employee fury over Musk attacks at company-wide meeting

Elon Musk’s Twitter profile is seen on a smartphone placed on the Twitter logos printed in this illustration taken on April 28, 2022. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

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April 29 (Reuters) – Twitter (TWTR.N) Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal sought to calm employee anger Friday during a company-wide meeting as employees demanded answers about how managers plan to deal with an expected exodus called by Elon Musk.

The meeting comes after Musk, Tesla (TSLA.O) The CEO who struck a $44 billion deal to buy the social media company has repeatedly criticized Twitter’s content moderation practices and the top executive responsible for setting speech and safety policies.

At an internal city council meeting, heard by Reuters, executives said the company would be monitoring staffing attrition daily, but that it was too early to tell how the acquisition with Musk would affect employee retention.

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Informed sources reported that Musk called on lenders to cut the salaries of board members and executives, but the exact cost cuts remain unclear. One source said that Musk would not make decisions about job cuts until he assumed ownership of Twitter. Read more

“I’m tired of hearing shareholder value and fiduciary duty. What are your honest thoughts on the very high probability that many employees will not have jobs after the deal closes?” asked a Twitter employee Agrawal, in a question that was read aloud during the meeting.

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Agrawal replied that Twitter has always taken care of its employees and will continue to do so.

“I believe the future Twitter organization will continue to care about its impact on the world and its customers,” he said.

During the meeting, executives said the attrition rate was unchanged from levels that preceded the news of Musk’s interest in buying the company.

In recent days, Musk has posted on Twitter criticism of Twitter’s chief lawyer, Vijaya Jade, a widely respected Twitter veteran in Silicon Valley. Musk’s attack sparked a barrage of online harassment targeting her. Read more

The employees also told executives they fear Musk’s erratic behavior could destabilize Twitter’s business, and hurt it financially as the company prepares to address the advertising world at a presentation next week in New York City.

“Do we have a near-term strategy on how to deal with advertisers that attract investment?” asked one employee.

Sarah Personnet, Twitter’s chief customer officer, said the company is working to reach out frequently with advertisers and reassure them “the way we serve our customers does not change.”

After the meeting, a Twitter employee told Reuters there was little faith in what the executives were saying.

“Public relations talk doesn’t come down. They told us no leaks and we’re doing work you’re proud of, but there’s no clear incentive for employees to do it,” the employee told Reuters, referring to compensation for non-executive employees. It is now identified because of this deal.

It is estimated that Agrawal will receive $42 million if it is terminated within 12 months of the change of control at the social media company, according to research firm Equilar.

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During the meeting, Agrawal urged the employees to anticipate change in the future under the new leadership, and acknowledged that the company has performed better over the years. Read more

“Yes, we could have done things differently and better,” he said. “I could have done things differently. I think about that a lot.”

Twitter declined to comment.

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Additional reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas and Katie Paul in Palo Alto, California; Editing by Kizu Nomiyama, Kenneth Lee and Daniel Wallis

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.