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Elon Musk on layoffs at Twitter: Company should ‘get healthy’ and key contributors shouldn’t worry

June 16, 2022, 7:04 PM UTC

Elon Musk is gearing up to take over Twitter, and already he’s talking about shaking up the company’s current policies, and potential future layoffs. 

Answering questions at a Twitter all-hands meeting on Thursday for the first time since announcing his intention to buy the company, the world’s richest man refused to reject the notion that he would downsize if and when he’s in charge.

“Anyone who is a significant contributor should have nothing to worry about,” Musk reportedly told employees, according to tweets from Bloomberg reporter Kurt Wagner.

The Tesla CEO also addressed questions about working from home, and said the company would prioritize working in person under his leadership, but that there could be an exception for “excellent contributors,” according to Wagner.

Musk punted when asked if he was committed to a diverse workplace and serving a diverse user base, saying that having a billion people or more on Twitter is “the most explicit definition of inclusiveness,” the New York Times reported. Musk said he believes in running companies as meritocracies.

“If someone is getting stuff done, great, I love them. If they’re not, why are they at the company?” Musk reportedly said at the employee meeting.

A spokesperson for Twitter declined to comment on Musk’s remarks.

Musk’s remarks prompted backlash from employees, who expressed worries about layoffs, remote work, and the direction Musk would take with content moderation and diversity measures, according to CNBC.

When he was negotiating his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, Musk reportedly told bankers that layoffs could be a way to improve the social media company’s bottom line, according to Bloomberg reporting at the time.

Since Musk’s acquisition announcement, Twitter has been bleeding executives. Head of product Kayvon Beykpour said in a series of tweets last month that he had been fired by CEO Parag Agrawal while on paternity leave. Another executive Bruce Falck, who oversaw revenue, said he had also been fired, in a now-deleted tweet.

Amid the Musk acquisition and Twitter’s poor stock performance lately, Agrawal instituted a hiring freeze for the company last month and said it could rescind some existing job offers.

“We need to continue to be intentional about our teams, hiring, and costs,” Agrawal said in an email to employees

The tech industry as a whole has been facing a slew of layoffs and hiring freezes as the tech-heavy Nasdaq is in bear-market territory, down 34% from its highs in November. Other tech companies like Meta and Spotify have said they will cut back on hiring. In the crypto space, the largest U.S.-based exchange, Coinbase, rescinded job offers earlier this month and said earlier this week it would lay off more than 1,000 employees

Update, June 16, 2022: This article has been updated with a comment from Twitter.

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