Musk plans to cut half of Twitter jobs to cut costs

eElon Musk plans to cut about 3,700 jobs at Twitter Inc., or half of the social media company’s workforce, in an effort to cut costs following its $44 billion acquisition, according to people familiar with the matter.

Twitter’s new owner aims to inform affected employees on Friday, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss non-public plans. Musk also intends to change the company’s existing work-from-anywhere policy by requiring other employees to report to offices — although some exceptions could be made, the people said.

Musk and a team of advisers have weighed a number of scenarios for job cuts and other policy changes at San Francisco-based Twitter, the people said, adding that the terms of the layoffs could still change. In one scenario under consideration, laid-off workers would be offered severance pay for 60 days, two of the people said.

After the layoffs were cleared, Twitter’s chief accounting officer, Robert Kayden, left the company, becoming one of the last executives before Musk to leave, according to people familiar with the matter.

A Twitter spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read more: Elon Musk’s net worth has dropped by $9 billion since buying Twitter

Musk is under pressure to find ways to cut costs in a business he says has overpaid. The billionaire agreed to pay $54.20 a share in April just as the markets crashed. He then tried for months to get out of the deal, claiming the company had misled him about the distribution of fake accounts. Twitter sued to force Musk to honor his agreement, and in recent weeks Musk relented, agreeing to close the deal on agreed terms. The takeover deal closed on Thursday.

Twitter employees have been bracing for layoffs since Musk took over and immediately fired much of the senior executive team, including CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and senior legal officers Vijaya Gade and Sean Edgett. In the following days, other departures included chief marketing officer Leslie Berland, chief client officer Sarah Personet and Jean-Philippe Maheu, who was vice president of global client solutions.

Read more: In Twitter’s chaotic first weekend under Elon Musk

In his biography on the social network, Musk called himself a “chief fool”. Bloomberg previously reported that he would take on the role of interim CEO himself. He also dissolved the company’s board and became sole director, later saying it was “just temporary”.

Over the weekend, several employees in director and vice president positions were laid off, people familiar with the matter said. Other leaders were asked to make lists of employees on their teams who could be cut, the people said.

Senior staff on product teams have been asked to target a 50 percent staff reduction, a person familiar with the matter said this week. Engineers and director-level employees at Tesla Inc., the automaker also run by Musk, reviewed the lists, the person said. The layoff lists are compiled and ranked based on people’s contributions to Twitter’s code during their time at the company, the people said. The assessment was made by both Tesla staff and Twitter executives.

Read more: Twitter employees are protesting Elon Musk’s plan to lay off 75% of its workforce

Concerns about drastic staff cuts began to swirl in the run-up to Musk’s buyout, when potential investors were told he would eliminate 75 percent of the workforce, which stood at about 7,500 by the end of 2021. Musk later denied the cuts would be so deep.

In recent weeks, Musk has begun hinting at his personnel priorities, saying he wants to focus on the core product. “Software engineering, server operations and design will rule,” he tweeted in early October.

Musk is also trying to generate more revenue. The company will soon start charging for the verification.

Read more: What we know—and don’t know—about Elon Musk’s ever-changing vetting plans

The badges will be part of an $8-a-month subscription that could be active as early as Monday, according to people familiar with the plans. Users who already have a blue verification badge will have a grace period of several months before they either have to pay for the badge or lose it, said one of the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss plans that are not public.

— With the help of Emily Chang.

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