Elon Musk is actively trying to acquire Twitter with a $46.5 billion takeover bid, but he is being fought off by 10 members of the Twitter board.
In the wake of Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s rumoured takeover effort, Twitter’s board of directors promised to retaliate with a “poison pill” plan that would allow it to flood the market with new shares if Musk bought more than 15% of the firm.
In an April 16 tweet, Musk remarked that fending off Musk’s $43 billion offer by issuing more shares might decrease the value of shareholders’ shares — but Twitter’s 10 board members own only a small percentage of the company: “The Twitter board collectively owns almost no shares!” “Objectively, their economic interests are simply not aligned with shareholders.”
Even Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who is stepping down from the board at the end of his tenure at the company’s annual shareholder meeting next month, tweeted the same day that the board of directors “has consistently been the dysfunction of the company.”
Musk, who holds a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter, is said to have acquired $46.5 billion in funding to bankroll his takeover attempt.
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Musk is threatening to cut board salaries to zero, claiming that this will save the company almost $3 million per year. Musk has backed out of an agreement to take a seat on the board. According to Twitter’s public filings, each non-employee board member received $225,000 in stock in 2021. Directors earned $12,500 in cash, plus additional payments ranging from $2,500 to $7,500 for serving on several board committees, with the exception of Dorsey and his co-founder, CEO Parang Agrawal.
So, who are the members of the Twitter board of directors who are opposing Musk’s hostile bid? Twitter is filled by a motley mix of IT veterans, retail gurus, academics, philanthropists, and former government officials, and has come under fire for censorship, in part for censoring the New York Post’s story of Hunter Biden’s laptop.
“They’re a lot more ideological and anemic than your typical Silicon Valley board,” said Kara Frederick, director of the Tech Policy Center at The Heritage Foundation. The Musk takeover bid has “expose[d] the board as the censors and ideologues that they really are. Rather than disrupting, they are all about maintaining the status quo as they ignore their fiduciary duties to maximize shareholder value and act with the best interests of Twitter as a company.”
Here’s an overview of ten members, their jobs, and the things they tweet about…
Bret Taylor, chairman of Twitter’s independent board
Twitter followers: 107,500
Recent tweet: “We are all excited to work with you and build the future of Twitter together” — tweeted at Elon Musk on April 5, before negotiations turned hostile
Taylor, 41, worked at Google as a product manager before co-founding Google Maps. He also served as Facebook’s chief technology officer from 2010 to 2012, when he resigned to create Quip, a Google Docs competitor. The Stanford grad has been co-CEO of Salesforce, a customer relationship management company, since November 2021. Taylor joined Twitter’s board of directors in 2016 and has served as chair since 2021.
Parang Agrawal, CEO, Twitter
Twitter followers: 540,000
Recent tweet: “Elon has decided not to join our board…Elon is our biggest shareholder and we will remain open to his input” — tweeted April 10.
The 37-year-old, who was born in India, joined Twitter in 2011 and has been the company’s chief technology officer since 2017. He progressed through the ranks to become the company’s first Distinguished Engineer, thanks to his work on artificial intelligence-related strategic initiatives. Dorsey’s confidant, he took over the company’s leadership in 2021. Stanford University awarded Agrawal a PhD in computer science.
Mimi Alemayehou, senior vice president for public-private partnership at Mastercard
Twitter followers: 20,200
Twitter MO: Alemayehou usually retweets other people’s comments or stories on Twitter, including support for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, and recently the Atlantic piece “It’s Your Friends Who Break Your Heart.”
Alemayehou was born in Ethiopia and raised in Kenya. She holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Tufts University. President Barack Obama nominated her as executive vice president of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a $16 billion development finance agency run by the federal government that funds investment opportunities in developing countries. The 53-year old frequently tweet about deals with African economic endeavours and startups, as well as health, job development, and climate change in underdeveloped countries.
Fei-Fei Li, professor of computer science at Stanford University
Twitter followers: 398,2000
Recent tweet: “More women and people from underserved and underrepresented communities should be in Computing!” — tweeted on March 22
Li has worked at Google as a vice president and chief scientist, and is the co-director of Stanford’s Human-Centered AI Institute. The China-born professor, who grew up in New Jersey, is a computer vision expert who has worked on the technology that allows software to distinguish things in video footage acquired by drones, such as vehicles and buildings. Li, 45, tweets about AI-related issues, conferences, breakthroughs, and other #peakgeek activities on a daily basis.
Egon Pierre Durban, co-CEO of Silver Lake
Twitter followers: 4,305
Durban, 48, is the CEO of Silver Lake, a multibillion-dollar private investment corporation specialising in technology. His firm also owns a stake in Manchester City Football Club. He has a degree in finance from Georgetown University and has been on the board and operations committee of Skype. He has been a member of the Twitter board since March 2020. Durban primarily tweets on the tech companies in which he invests, which range from Airbnb to Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund. Just two years ago, Durban sent his first tweet, praising company CEO Jack Dorsey.
Robert Zoellick, former president of the World Bank
Twitter followers: 1,283
Twitter MO: Non-existent
Zoellick, 68, was the 11th president of the World Bank, a position he held from 2007 to 2012. He was a former deputy secretary of state under President George W. Bush. Since July 2018, Zoellick has been a member of the Twitter board of directors. Previously, he was the chair of Goldman Sachs’ board of foreign advisors. He has also served as a counsellor to the US Secretary of the Treasury and deputy chief of staff in the White House under President George H.W. Bush from 1992 to 1993. He is a seasoned federal bureaucrat and Harvard Law School alumni. Former Secretary of State James Baker described him as “a superb manager, policy analyst, and writer” in his book “Politics of Diplomacy.” Surprisingly, Zoellick does not appear to have ever tweeted in his life.
Patrick Pichette, former chief financial officer of Google
Twitter followers: 6,787
Recent tweet: “You can smell spring in the air in London today. Happy intl women’s Day!” — tweeted on March 8
Pichette is a London-based partner of Inovia Capital, a Canadian venture capital firm, and has been a member of the Twitter board since December 2017. Pichette was born in Canada and attended Oxford University and the Universite du Quebec in Montreal. The 57-year-old, an avid cyclist who frequently updates followers on his bike rides around England via Twitter, also appears to have a taste for morning cereals. He tweeted a picture of a container of Lucky Charms last month, declaring it ““The real and only reason to go back to the Twitter office :D.”
Martha Lane Fox, entrepreneur and philanthropist
Twitter followers: 137,700
The 49-year-old baroness has been a member of the Twitter board of directors since April 2016. She is also the founder and chair of Lucky Voice Group Ltd., a private karaoke company, which she founded in 2005. The British philanthropist is on the boards of WeTransfer and Chanel, and in 2013 she became the House of Lords’ youngest female member. She is the director of Peers for the Planet, an environmental organisation affiliated with the House of Lords that advocates for “an urgent response to climate change.” Lane Fox, who graduated from Oxford University with a BA in ancient and modern history, was named chancellor of the Open University in 2014. She has a diverse Twitter feed, spanning from concerns about the open web to photographs of snow-covered alpine peaks.
Omid Kordestani, entrepreneur and former executive chairman of Twitter
Twitter followers: 39,100
Recent tweet: “Embarrassed for my kids to hear this ‘debate’ in the background.” — tweeted on Sept. 29, 2020, during a Biden-Trump debate
Kordestani, a 59-year-old Iranian-born executive, is worth $1.9 billion and has been on the Twitter board of directors since October 2015. Between 1999 to 2009, he worked at Google as a senior vice president of global sales and business development. He was named one of Time magazine’s “100 People Who Shape Our World” in 2006, describing himself as “the main brains behind Google’s innovative and aggressive push to reach deals with a multitude of partners and make big money through advertising.” Kordestani, a father of two with a Stanford MBA, uses Twitter to commemorate holidays and, on rare occasions, politics.
David Rosenblatt, CEO of 1stdibs.com
Twitter followers: 7,941
Recent tweet: “Thank you, @jack, for your vision, leadership and unrelenting dedication to Twitter since its founding but especially over the last 6 years. I look forward to our next chapter with @paraga leading the flock.” — tweeted on Nov. 29, 2021
Since January 2011, Rosenblatt has served on the Twitter board of directors. He started his e-commerce career in 1997 as a product manager at Doubleclick, a Google-owned company that makes money from internet ads, and currently manages 1stdibs.com, an online vintage furniture marketplace. He has a Stanford MBA and usually tweets about design, furniture, auctions, new collections, and NFTs. In a tweet from early 2021, he expressed his admiration for Britons’ preference for the word “clash” over “conflict” when discussing scheduling snafus: “much more colourful and evocative,” he wrote.