Elon Musk is 'totally out of his element' at Twitter because he doesn't 'understand social media,' a Harvard leadership expert says

Elon Musk is 'totally out of his element' at Twitter because he doesn't 'understand social media,' a Harvard leadership expert says
Elon Musk is a 'case study of failed leadership' a management professor told Insider.Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images
  • A Harvard leadership expert thinks Elon Musk is "totally out of his element" in running Twitter.
  • He explained that the billionaire doesn't have any expertise of running a social media platform.

A Harvard leadership expert weighed in on Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter and the changes he's made, saying that the billionaire is "totally out of his element" because social media is not his area of expertise.

Bill George, an executive fellow at Harvard Business School and former CEO of Medtronic, told CNBC Make It in an interview: "If you had to write a case study on an example of a really poor takeover of an organization, Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter would fit that perfectly well."

George added: "I don't think he understands social media."

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Musk bought Twitter in a $44 billion deal in October 2022 and has drastically changed the company in terms of personnel and the platform's public facing interface. One of his first moves as Twitter's new boss was firing key executives including CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Sagal, chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde, and general counsel Sean Edgett.

He also laid off roughly half the company's 8,000 employees at the time, while introducing new features to the platform including charging users $7.99 for a blue-check verification and most recently changing the company's iconic blue bird logo to an X.


George explained that although Musk "did a brilliant job in creating Tesla and he's done a lot of good things [at SpaceX] too," his transformation of Twitter is a "big mistake."

George suggested that Musk should let Twitter's new CEO Linda Yaccarino call the shots.

William Klepper, a management professor teaching an executive leadership course at Columbia Business School, previously told Insider that Musk's Twitter takeover is "a case study of failed leadership."

Klepper echoed George's comments that Musk needs to take a step back and let other people lead the platform.

"You should not be CEO of your company," he said. "You should hire managers within the functional elements of that organization, but you could sit up on top of this conglomerate with a lot of folks that know how your brain works and apply it constructively, as opposed to destructively in each of those companies."