The following is a free preview from last week’s Command Line, my new weekly newsletter about the tech industry’s inside conversation:
Elon Musk has said he will find a new CEO for Twitter after users voted for him to leave. But who would, in his own words, be “foolish enough to take the job”?
It’s a question I’ve been posing in conversations over the past week. Based on my checks with people who would know, Musk doesn’t appear to be running a formal search yet. And given his propensity to
lie go back on his word, he might not try to find someone. The matter is complicated by his saying that, even after finding a CEO, he will still run the “software & servers teams.” That’s basically the whole company.
For what it’s worth, I do think Musk will eventually find a CEO, not only because he told his Twitter investors he would but because it’s the rational thing for him to do. Below are the names that have been floated to me as good candidates should Musk actually hand over the reins of Twitter. (I’m not including the obvious members of Musk’s transition team that helped him in the early days of the takeover — namely David Sacks, Jason Calacanis, and Sriram Krishnan — since my read is that they are not in a position to take the job if asked.)
Sheryl Sandberg, ex-Meta COO
Cons: Musk is no fan of Facebook, and I don’t think they would get along. Sandberg also seems happy focusing on her philanthropy and family life these days.
Emmett Shear, co-founder and CEO of Twitch
Cons: He hasn’t led a public company, and Musk plans to bring Twitter back out to the public markets in several years. And Twitch has been unable to successfully expand outside of its main niche of gamer livestreams.
Vanessa Pappas, TikTok COO
Con: If Musk is mainly looking for someone that the big advertisers know to lead Twitter, she wouldn’t be the top choice since her focus has mainly been on product and creators.
Jim Lanzone, CEO of Yahoo
Con: Unclear if he would want to work for Musk and take on the headache that is Twitter right now.
Kevin Systrom, Instagram co-founder
Cons: He has already worked for an opinionated founder / CEO, made a lot of money, and likely doesn’t want to do it all again. Also doesn’t have the degree of clout with the advertising community that Musk is probably looking for.
Honorable mentions floated to me: Adam Bain, Susan Wojcicki, Sarah Friar, Kayvon Beykpour, and Kevin Weil. Am I missing anyone else? Let me know…