Musk tweeted his decision Tuesday evening in response to an unscientific and unrepresentative poll he launched two days ago, which asked users if he should step down as head of the company. More than 10 million people, or 57.5 percent of those polled, voted for him to leave the post.
Musk had previously said he would follow the results of the informal poll, which he launched after even some of his own allies criticized some of Twitter’s recent policies. The vote was one of a series of public blows to his image since he took on the role. This month, he was booed by the crowd when he took the stage at comedian Dave Chappelle’s San Francisco show.
Six moments that define Musk’s time as Twitter boss
The entrepreneur, who also heads Tesla and SpaceX, took control of the social media company in October in a $44 billion deal. Musk has previously indicated that he had no intention of remaining in Twitter’s top spot for the long term.
Musk did not directly respond to the results of the poll for more than a day after it closed, but he did respond to several tweets that suggested the poll could have been infiltrated by bots or that it was not a representative sample of what people wanted.
His tepid response to the poll on Tuesday night leaves the door open for him to remain in the top spot indefinitely.
“Accurate assessment!” Musk was responding to a tweet asking why “offering to take over the thankless job” would upset people.
Some Tesla investors had urged Musk to step aside from the social media company to focus his energy on the electric car company, which has struggled in the stock market. Shares in Tesla fell more than 8 percent during trading on Tuesday.
Musk’s time leading Twitter has been marked by upheaval and occasional chaos. The billionaire laid off thousands of employees, disbanded an outside group that oversaw online security and reinstated prominent suspended accounts, including one belonging to former President Donald Trump.
No word from Musk on whether he wants to retire. He lost a poll he said he would follow.
Musk’s move has been controversial with many Twitter users and advertisers, and risks the company’s main source of revenue. But others had cheered his free-speech agenda and urged him to stay on as CEO.
Musk has used Twitter polls to make critical decisions several times since taking over the company, including whether to reinstate Trump. He also asked users if the company should offer “general amnesty” to suspended accounts, many of which began to reappear on the site.
Musk launched another poll on Tuesday night, this time asking users whether Congress should approve a $1.7 trillion deal to fund the government.
Cat Zakrzewski contributed to this report.