Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, reached out to Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s chief executive, a few weeks ago with a friendly heads-up. He was buying shares of the social media company, Mr. Musk confided, and wanted to discuss how to make Twitter better.
Mr. Musk had ideas for reshaping social networks that dovetailed with those of Mr. Agrawal and Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder, according to their public exchanges. All three have floated the notion of radically shifting the power in social networking to users and away from behemoth companies, by using an approach to technology that would give people control over what they see in their social media feeds.
In the ensuing weeks, Mr. Agrawal discussed having Mr. Musk become a more active participant in Twitter’s future, according to two people with knowledge of the conversations who were not authorized to speak publicly. Mr. Agrawal also welcomed having Mr. Musk — who has more than 80 million Twitter followers and sometimes tweets a dozen or more times a day — join the company’s board, one of the people said.
On Tuesday, Twitter announced that Mr. Musk, 50, would be appointed to its 11-person board in a term that expires in 2024. That followed the revelation on Monday that Mr. Musk had accumulated a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter, making him its biggest shareholder. Mr. Musk has agreed not to own more than 14.9 percent of Twitter’s stock or take over the company, which is based in San Francisco, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our board,” Mr. Agrawal tweeted on Tuesday.
The addition of one of Twitter’s most powerful users to its board has implications for a social network where world leaders, lawmakers, celebrities and more than 217 million users conduct their daily public discourse. Unlike some other Twitter board members, Mr. Musk did not sign an agreement…
Kate Conger, Mike Isaac and Lauren Hirsch
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