Elon Musk is 'outside his depth' at Twitter and his 'bullying management culture' won't fix it, early SpaceX investor says

An image of new Twitter owner Elon Musk is seen surrounded by Twitter logos in this photo illustration.
Elon Musk acquired Twitter on October 27.Getty Images
  • Early SpaceX investor Chris Kelly said Elon Musk's "bullying management culture" won't work at Twitter.

  • Kelly said on Saturday that Musk is "outside his depth" at Twitter and his actions don't "bode well."

  • Since buying Twitter, Musk has laid of half of its workforce and issued an ultimatum to remaining staff.

Early SpaceX investor Chris Kelly warned on Saturday that Elon Musk might not be equipped to lead Twitter.

"He's able to do some pretty amazing things, but has got into an area that's well outside his depth and thinks a bullying management culture can change it — and that's not going to work at a company like Twitter," Kelly said during Sky News' Big Ideas Live event in London.

Kelly served as a chief privacy officer at Facebook from 2005 to 2009 and was an early backer of SpaceX. Kelly said he's "mostly an Elon fan," but added he was "surprised" by Musk's recent actions at Twitter.

Twitter, which got rid of its communications department, did not respond to a request for comment from Insider ahead of publication. Kelly did not respond to a message seeking further comment on LinkedIn.

"He should have taken a much more measured approach when he was taking over," Kelly said at the event.

When Musk finally followed through on his $44 billion Twitter purchase, he booted Twitter's CEO and CFO within hours of completing the deal. The billionaire later proceeded to lay off about half of Twitter's workforce and fired several employees who spoke out against him on social media and in the company's Slack communication channels.

Musk also issued an ultimatum to Twitter staff last week, saying he expects them to be "extremely hardcore" and work long hours or resign. The companywide email spurred a significant exodus on Thursday, with some former employees speculating the site could go down due to the number of workers on "critical" teams that have left the company under Musk's leadership.

Ultimately, Kelly said that while he's seen Musk implement a similar management style at Tesla and SpaceX, he believes Musk's leadership style could be detrimental to Twitter.

"The fact it would go from central town square for the world to 'will it work tomorrow?' is a big question," he said. "The massive cutbacks and chainsaw that Elon Musk has taken to the company does not bode well for its future."

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