Elon Musk has recruited high-ranking executives and engineers from his other businesses, including SpaceX, Tesla and The Boring Company, to help out at the social media company.
Musk has also used partners from investment firms who joined him in the Twitter buyout access to work within the social media company.
It wasn’t nearly clear how many hours each person had worked so far at Twitter, or how much of their work may be done remotely versus in Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters or other offices.
Shareholders remain anxious about how Musk’s financial commitments, split schedule and controversial decisions at Twitter may impact the automaker.
Tesla shares have weakened about 25 percent since he took over Twitter on Thursday, October 27.
Sources indicated that more than 50 Tesla employees, mostly Autopilot software engineers, were authorized to work for Musk at Twitter directly after he took over, and were still sanctioned to work there as of early December.
Attorneys asked Elon Musk in a Delaware court in November about his use of Tesla talent at Twitter.
The lawsuit and trial are to determine whether Tesla’s board followed the law when it granted Musk a massive CEO pay package back in 2018.
The attorneys asked, “Did anyone suggest to you that perhaps as a public company, it might not be a good idea to use the resources of the public company for your private company?”
In his testimony, Musk characterized Tesla employees’ work for him at Twitter as “just a voluntary thing.” He also said: “This was sort of an after-hours, just if you’re interested in evaluating the — helping me evaluate Twitter engineering, that would be nice. It was very short-term. I think it lasted for a few days and it was over.”
Musk also said: “I didn’t really regard this as using Tesla assets, as I had asked just for a voluntary basis, and I did not specify any number of people. I don’t know what the number was, but I don’t think it was quite 50. But it was a small number. There are 120,000 people at the company, just to be clear, so this is de minimis.”
A Tesla worker said that most people at the electric vehicle firm would be privileged if they were asked to work extra hours at other Musk companies.
However, they said most would also feel it was unbearable to turn down a direct request from Musk without later facing poor performance reviews or other consequences.
This person declined to be named because they were not authorized by the company to talk to the press.
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SpaceX is a major U.S. defense contractor whose revenue is derived from contracts with NASA and the U.S. Air Force, among others.
A current Twitter employee said that Musk has been “flattening” the organizational structure at the company since early November so that many managers have over 20 direct reports each. Most had closer to 10 before the Tesla CEO took over, which left them time for mentoring.
Now, it’s also harder for employees to determine who is working on what projects within Twitter because Musk’s team has disregarded a tool called Birdhouse that was earlier used as an internal directory and organizational guide.