Elon Musk on the hook to pay more than $200 million to 3 fired Twitter execs

This story was updated with a more current tally of shares from Twitter’s most recent proxy statement. 

When Twitter Inc.’s top executives walked out of its San Francisco headquarters Thursday, they may as well have been carrying bags of Elon Musk’s cash.

Chief Executive Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal policy, received a “golden parachute” clause in Twitter’s
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merger with Musk’s X Holdings. Musk reportedly fired all three Thursday evening upon officially taking control of the social network in a $44 billion acquisition, and will be obligated to give more than $204 million of it to those three, according to Twitter’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Read more: Elon Musk completes Twitter purchase, fires CEO and other top execs: reports

Agrawal, Segal and Gadde own roughly 1.2 million shares of Twitter, more than half of that a $34.8 million stake owned by Gadde. The trio’s roughly $65 million stake would be purchased by Musk like any other shareholder’s stock.

Additionally, a clause in the merger agreement provided accelerated vesting of promised future stock compensation — and that’s where the biggest chunk of money comes in. The “Golden Parachute Compensation” clause in Twitter’s SEC filing — which was the deal approved by Twitter shareholders — shows the trio would automatically vest stock worth $119.6 million as severance if terminated, with the largest payout there going to Agrawal at $56 million.

They’re also entitled to a year’s salary and health benefits. In 2021, Agrawal had a base pay of $623,000, while Segal and Gadde’s base pay was $600,000 each.

In total, Gadde is set to walk away from Twitter with the biggest haul: Nearly $74 million. Agrawal and Segal aren’t far behind her, though, at roughly $65 million and $66 million, respectively.

Twitter shares have rallied 26% over the past month and closed Thursday at $53.70, close to the $54.20 share price Musk, who’s also CEO of Tesla Inc.
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and the world’s wealthiest individual, agreed to pay in April.