Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has decided not to join social media giant Twitter's board of directors, leaving some conservatives wondering if ever having free speech on the platform is just a pipe dream. But actually, skipping the boardroom might even give him more of a voice.
In a tweet, late Sunday, Twitter's Chief Executive Parag Agrawal announced Musk decided not to join the company's board.
"Elon's appointment to the board was to become officially effective on 4/9, but Elon shared that same morning that he would not be joining the board," Agrawal wrote in a reposted note originally sent to Tesla employees. "I believe this is for the best."
Elon has decided not to join our board. I sent a brief note to the company, sharing with you all here. pic.twitter.com/lfrXACavvk
— Parag Agrawal (@paraga) April 11, 2022
Agrawal didn't give a reason for Musk's decision not to join the board, but wrote, "We were excited to collaborate and clear about the risks. We also believed that having Elon as a fiduciary of the company where he, like all board members, has to act in the best interests of the company and all our shareholders was the best path forward."
"We have and will always value input from our shareholders whether they are on our Board or not. Elon is our biggest shareholder and we will remain open to his input," he continued.
The Washington Times' Victor Morton and Ryan Lovelace noted Agrawal may have hinted at Musk's reasoning in his tweet, writing: "Mr. Agrawal's 'fiduciary duty' reference and his noting that board members must act in the company's best interests would have at least the potential to require Mr. Musk to muzzle his public criticism of the company. In addition, board membership can rein in a person's ability to purchase shares because he would have access to inside information about the company."
As a board member, Musk couldn't own more than 14.9 percent of the company's stock, according to The Wall Street Journal, so his decision has left analysts wondering if he intends to purchase more Twitter stock.
Although the Tesla and SpaceX CEO, didn't respond to multiple media requests for comment, the newspaper pointed out he did tweet his own comments over the weekend, including one face emoji with its hand over its mouth, and other criticisms, suggestions, and apparent jokes about the platform, all of which were later deleted.
One of his more intriguing comments was a suggestion to turn Twitter's San Francisco headquarters into a homeless shelter. That comment was partly inspired by the fact those many Twitter employees now work at home, but it's also being seen as another hint at his overall dissatisfaction with Twitter's management.
Axios noted that Musk's decision not to join the Twitter board, "Could be a prelude to him walking away, the start of a hostile takeover, or anything in between."
Chester Spatt, a finance professor at Carnegie Mellon University and former chief economist at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Musk, as the largest shareholder, could potentially "swing back hard" at Twitter executives and board members and force the company to move in a new direction.
"At some point, he could throw the directors out, he could replace the board," Spatt said. "He could probably launch that with his current 9% stake and potentially be very successful."
According to a filing from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Musk purchased a 9.2% stake in Twitter, Inc., meaning he now controls roughly 73.5 million shares in the company, making him the largest shareholder of the brand, Fox Business reported.
Musk has described himself as a "free speech absolutist" and has said he doesn't think Twitter is living up to free speech principles.
As CBN's Faithwire reported last week, Twitter's shares jumped more than 25% in the wake of the Monday morning news of Musk's stock purchase, and individual stocks were priced at $49.81 each.
As of Monday morning, Twitter's stock had dropped to $46.31 per share.
Musk's large purchase of Twitter stock came just days after he took to Twitter to question the left-leaning platform's approach to free speech, even asking if he needed to create a new social media site himself.
In a series of tweets late last month, Musk commented that "Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy."
"Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?" he asked his followers.
"Is a new platform needed?" Musk continued.
Is a new platform needed?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 26, 2022
The world's richest man also told his 81.3 million Twitter followers last month that he was "giving serious thought to building his own social media platform."
Am giving serious thought to this
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 27, 2022
Musk had earlier tweeted his own Yes or No poll asking his followers, "Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?"
The final results out of 2,035,924 votes -- 70.4% No. 29.6% Yes.