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Elon Musk sued by former Twitter execs over severance

March 4, 2024

The four executives were fired hours after Musk took control of the company now called X. They say he owes them millions in severance.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and X, formerly Twitter
Elon Musk is facing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit in California over money he allegedly owes four former Twitter executivesImage: Gonzalo Fuentes/REUTERS

Four former top Twitter executives, including ex-CEO Parag Agrawal, have sued Elon Musk in a bid to recover more than $128 million (around €118 million) in unpaid severance.

In a lawsuit filed on Monday in San Francisco federal court, they allege Musk has not paid the severance since he bought the social media company, now called X, more than a year ago.

"Musk doesn't pay his bills, believes the rules don't apply to him, and uses his wealth and power to run roughshod over anyone who disagrees with him," they said in the lawsuit.

What happened after Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter?

Besides Agrawal, the other executives to bring the suit are former Chief Legal Officer Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's former Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and former General Counsel Sean Edgett — all fired hours after Musk took control of Twitter in October 2022 in a contentious $44 billion deal.

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According to the suit, citing a recent authorized biography of the tycoon, Musk went out of his way to ensure the executives were not able to resign from before he fired them.

The executives "appropriately and vigorously represented the interests of Twitter's public shareholders throughout Musk's wrongful attempt to renege on the deal," the suit said. "For their efforts, Musk vowed a lifetime of revenge."

X is already facing a pair of proposed class actions claiming it owes rank-and-file workers who were laid off after Musk's acquisition at least $500 million in severance, and a third lawsuit by six former senior managers making similar claims.

The company has denied wrongdoing.

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jsi/lo (AFP, Reuters, dpa)