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Who could Elon Musk choose as the next CEO of Twitter?

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Elon Musk earlier this month promised step down as head of Twitter as soon as he finds someone “foolish enough to take the job”.

Musk’s provisional resignation followed a Twitter poll posted by the billionaire businessman in which 57.5% of respondents called for Musk to step down from leading the company. Musk said he will retain control over the software and servers departments, key teams that will give him significant control over how the social media platform operates.

It’s still possible that Musk will reverse his decision to step down, as he changed his mind about past policy decisions on Twitter, such as a proposed content moderation board, which he ended up abandoning.

He didn’t share further details about the search for a successor or the traits he’s looking for in one, but that ambiguity hasn’t stopped some candidates from putting forward their names, including rapper Snoop Dogg and YouTube personality Mr. Beast.

Still, a set of viable candidates will likely emerge in the coming weeks or months.

The position brings formidable challenges. Musk, who admitted he overpaid for the platform at a purchase price of $44 billion, said last month that the company was losing $4 million a day.

Because Musk maintains a high public profile and ultimate authority as an owner, the new CEO will need to implement Musk’s vision and cede the spotlight, Peter Harms, a professor of management at the University of Alabama who has studied corporate leadership, told ABC News.

“It won’t be your typical CEO,” Harms said.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Here is a list of who could be the next CEO of Twitter:

People close to Elon Musk

Twitter’s next CEO will likely come from a group of people close to Musk, whether inside or outside the company.

Jason Calacanis, a friend and public supporter of Musk, brings years of experience in technology and media. A former general manager at Netscape, Calacanis now works as an angel investor with stakes in Robinhood and Uber, among other successful startups.

Another friend of Musk’s, David Sacks, is a co-founder and partner in a venture capital firm called Craft, which has investments in Lyft, Palantir, Slack and Twitter.

Earlier this month, Calacanis tweeted a vote asking users whether he, Sacks or a partnership of the two should run Twitter after Musk. The answer that garnered the most support was “Other,” which attracted 39% of the vote.

A few other individuals in Musk’s orbit have drawn attention since his resignation announcement: Sriram Krishnan, a former Twitter employee brought back by Musk in October to help make improvements; and Steve Davis, CEO of another Musk venture called The Boring Company, who reportedly slept at Twitter’s headquarters with his wife and newborn to help with the takeover, business publication The Information reported.

PHOTO: John Legere, CEO and Chairman of T-Mobile, speaks during an interview on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, April 30, 2018.

John Legere, CEO and Chairman of T-Mobile, speaks during an interview on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, April 30, 2018.

Bloomberg via Getty Images

john legere

Amidst the barrage of half-joking requests from celebrities asking to lead Twitter, one seasoned candidate has stepped forward: John Legere, former CEO of telecommunications company T-Mobile.

Legere, who led T-Mobile from 2012 to 2020, earned plaudits for rescuing T-Mobile from tough times and making it the third-largest wireless carrier in the US.

In a Twitter post directed at Musk in November, Legere said“You can stop managing day-to-day business and ‘content moderation’ and then product/technology support, let someone else ‘run’ @Twitter.”

“I’m expensive, but so is what you paid for Twitter,” he added.

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a Yale University management professor who convenes meetings of top CEOs, told ABC News that Legere’s skills match the job as he knows how to revive a well-established company.

Legere “could skydive tomorrow and make it a lot better,” Sonnenfeld said. “This is a turnaround, a recovery, not an entrepreneurial start.”

For his part, Musk appeared to rebuke Legere’s candidacy. In response to Legere’s post suggesting he lead the company, Musk simply tweeted “no”. However, Musk has reversed his stance on major decisions before, including the Twitter acquisition.

PHOTO: Jack Dorsey creator, co-founder and president of Twitter and co-founder and CEO of Square takes the stage at the Bitcoin Convention 2021, a cryptocurrency conference held at the Mana Convention Center, on June 4, 2021, in Miami.

Twitter Creator, Co-Founder and President and Square Co-Founder and CEO Jack Dorsey takes the stage at the Bitcoin Convention 2021, a cryptocurrency conference held at the Mana Convention Center on June 4, 2021 in Miami.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Jack Dorsey

Another potential candidate to run Twitter is former CEO Jack Dorsey, a friend of Musk who left the company and returned to lead it on an earlier occasion.

Dorsey, who helped found the social media company, posted the first tweet in 2006 and was named CEO a year later. However, his tenure only lasted until 2008. Years later, however, when user growth stalled and employee morale declined, Dorsey returned to lead the company from 2015 to 2021.

Currently, Dorsey runs Block, a fintech formerly called Square, which he founded more than a decade ago.

The return of a former Twitter CEO like Dorsey may be unlikely as Musk has reversed some of the company’s past policies and sharply criticized others. The company’s decision to ban former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 attack, one of the most important choices made by Dorsey, was undone by Musk last month.

In addition, Musk has given journalists access to internal company documents for a series of stories called the “Twitter Archives” in which they allege bias and censorship previously carried out by the platform.

Meanwhile, Dorsey said in May that he doesn’t want the CEO job. When a user predicted that Musk would end up naming Dorsey as CEO, Dorsey he responded“Nah, I’ll never be CEO again.”

PHOTO: Sheryl Sandberg attends the 2022 Women's Media Awards at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, November 17, 2022, in New York City.

Sheryl Sandberg attends the 2022 Women’s Media Awards at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on November 17, 2022 in New York City.

Dipasupil Day/Getty Images

Sheryl Sandberg

Few potential candidates have the qualifications of Sheryl Sandberg, who stepped down as chief operating officer at Meta, Facebook’s parent company, in September.

Facing a lull in advertising from big brands, Sandberg could restore the platform’s credibility on Madison Avenue and ensure the company optimizes revenue through other means.

Sandberg, who joined Meta in 2008, has spearheaded a dramatic increase in Facebook’s revenue by revamping its advertising business, transforming the operation into an industry powerhouse that has helped small and large businesses reach users through data collected by the platform. Prior to that, she served as Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google.

She worked closely with Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg for nearly 15 years, navigating a relationship with a tech-focused top executive that parallels the possible dynamic between a new Twitter CEO and Musk.

But the sources of potential tension between Musk and Sandberg are manifold. Sandberg has a significant public profile of her own, built in part on “Lean In,” a 2013 book that encouraged women to be assertive in the workplace. A powerful CEO, as Sandberg likely would be, could face disputes with Musk over the direction of the company.

Musk and Sandberg may also disagree over their political views, especially as content moderation remains a polarizing issue. Sandberg was a major donor to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. On the other hand, Musk last month encouraged Americans to vote Republican ahead of the midterm elections.