Billionaire’s ultimatum, following sweeping layoffs and executive exodus, sets deadline for employees to stay or take a severance package.
Elon Musk emailed Twitter Inc. employees demanding that they commit to “long hours at high intensity” or leave, further roiling a staff already dealing with sweeping layoffs, mass executive departures and repeated business missteps under the billionaire’s ownership.
Twitter employees must fill out a Google form by Thursday, 5 p.m. ET, to indicate if they want to remain at the company and are willing to work an intense regimen, according to the overnight email from Mr. Musk that many employees woke up to on Wednesday, with the subject line “A Fork in the Road.” Those who opt not to commit would be given three months of severance, he said.
“Going forward, to build a breakthrough Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely hardcore,” Mr. Musk wrote in the email, which was viewed by The Wall Street Journal. “This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.“
In the nearly three weeks since he completed his $44 billion takeover of Twitter, Mr. Musk has been radically reshaping its workforce and leadership while simultaneously pushing employees to revamp the company’s products and business model, rethink its content-moderation policies, and reassure advertisers concerned about the impact of all those changes.
His leadership style at Twitter has mixed exhortations, warnings and sarcasm.
Several Twitter employees said they were fired after they criticized Mr. Musk, with some saying they received an email stating their behavior had violated company policy without specifying further. Some said the firings followed critical remarks they posted on Twitter or internally on Slack.
In one case, Mr. Musk tweeted that he had fired a staff software engineer, Eric Frohnhoefer, after the employee posted on the platform saying that the billionaire was wrong in something he had tweeted about a technical matter. Mr. Frohnhoefer confirmed to the Journal that he had been fired.
In response to a tweet about his having fired employees who were critical of him, Mr. Musk said on the platform on Tuesday: “I would like to apologize for firing these geniuses. Their immense talent will no doubt be of great use elsewhere.”
Separately, Twitter also fired a number of contractors last weekend, including people working in engineering, customer support, marketing and product design, according to people familiar with the matter. The exact scope of the cuts couldn’t be determined.