Ex-Twitter GM Nick Caldwell sues Elon Musk, X over unpaid severance

Harun Ozalp | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Former Twitter executive Nick Caldwell is suing Elon Musk and

In the complaint filed Wednesday in federal court in California, Caldwell’s lawyers claimed that after Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter closed, the company “defrauded Mr. Caldwell and other executives over a combined total of $200,000,000 in severance pay by falsely accusing them of misconduct and claiming to terminate them for “cause.”

Caldwell’s suit is similar to another filed by former Twitter executives, including former CEO Parag Agrawal, who claim they are owed $128 million in unpaid severance.

Caldwell is now chief product officer for Platoon and serves on the boards of several other technology companies, according to his LinkedIn profile. He previously led a team of hundreds of engineers at Twitter as general manager of the Red Bird, or core tech, organization.

According to the complaint, Caldwell worked to retain key talent at Twitter until the buyout was finalized, then sent a letter to the company on October 28, 2022, stating that he was resigning “for good reasons.” Two days earlier, Musk tweeted a video of his entry into the company’s headquarters, and wrote: “Walking into Twitter headquarters – let that sink in!”

Twitter accepted Caldwell’s resignation, triggering a “change of control and involuntary termination protection policy” for executives leaving the company in good standing, Caldwell’s lawyers argued.

Twitter told Caldwell his last day on the job would be November 27, a month after his resignation letter. The company immediately cut off his access to internal systems and no longer remained in communication with him, the complaint states. On November 27, Twitter claimed that Caldwell was fired for cause.

“Without any factual basis, Musk simply accused Mr. Caldwell of misconduct in order to avoid paying him millions of dollars in severance payments that Musk/Twitter owed Mr. Caldwell,” his lawyers wrote.

The lawsuit notes that Musk enlisted the help of a number of current and former relatives, investors, and employees of his other companies, SpaceX and You’re hereincluding some who worked “to deny severance claims filed by Mr. Caldwell and other executives as part of the severance plan administration process.”

The suit names Brian Bjelde and Lindsay Chapman who work at SpaceX, as well as Dhruv Batura who previously worked in finance at SpaceX. You’re hereas defendants alongside Musk.

Caldwell’s lawyers say in the filing that their client owes about $19.3 million in severance pay plus interest, and about half a million dollars, which represents the value of the restricted stock units he allegedly due to receive in November 2022, and interest of approximately $3 million. , plus attorney’s fees.

Musk and X did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Caldwell’s lawyers declined to comment and referred CNBC for comment.

Days before her resignation from Twitter, Caldwell shared a message on social media saying: “My wife and soul mate Tia Caldwell passed away suddenly on October 15. She was only 39 years old and yet she lived a full life, beautiful and accomplished, overflowing with love.” The lawsuit does not mention his wife’s death.

Read the full complaint – Nicholas Caldwell v. Elon Musk, X Corp. et al (Case 3:24-cv-02022) – below.


Back to top button