Technology

The ‘chief architect’ behind Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter


In the application submitted to the authorities a week before the transaction reached an agreement, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX asked the “Blue Bird” to contact his family office contact to discuss issues. surrounding this acquisition.

Portrait of the “butler” of the Musk family

The family office, which manages the wealth of the richest person on the planet, located in Austin, Texas, is called Excession, after a science fiction book by novelist M.Banks about artificial intelligence. . Musk was seen bringing this book to a conference in 2015.

Excession is designed and operated by Jared Birchall, a former manager at Morgan Stanley. Birchall has also been an adviser to Musk in dealings with Walls for the past few years. According to court documents, the financial assistant hired a detective to investigate an individual Tesla CEO called a “pedophile” in 2018.

Birchall was born in 1974, moved from Morgan Stanley to work for Musk in 2016, with the role of building and managing the family office. Birchall currently holds many important positions in companies run by Elon Musk such as: CEO of neurotechnology company Neuralink, director of Boring Company and member of the board of directors of the billionaire’s personal charity foundation. this rich.

According to a profile posted on LinkedIn, Birchall graduated from Brigham Young University and started working at Goldman Sachs Group in New York in 1999 as a financial analyst. He then moved on to be an asset manager at Merrill Lynch in Los Angeles for about 10 years.

In 2010, he was fired by Merrill Lynch for “engaging in behavior that damaged the trust of management” by “sending letters to customers without the approval of upper management”, according to the filing. financial regulator FINRA. A month later, Birchall joined Morgan Stanley, also as an asset manager.

During a 2019 trial in Los Angeles, Musk said that the company Excession is basically managed by two people. The second character has yet to be revealed.

It’s not unusual to have a small team run the family office. The family office of billionaire Jeff Bezos even has up to 100 employees.

There is no specific requirement for family offices to disclose their assets or key personnel, so it is impossible to know the number of shares in Excession or the number of employees working at them. this.

According to a business registration filing with the Texas public accounts regulator in 2021, the 48-year-old is currently the manager of Excession.

Raphael Amit, a management professor at the Wharton School, said that Birchall’s multiple positions are unusual for a family office manager, but it shows Musk’s confidence in the character.

“When you appoint someone to run the family office, it means you trust him very much. Elon wants to set it up in a way that allows Birchall to have ultimate control over everything.”

Not just an effective financial assistant

Morgan Stanley is the bank that provides financial support and advice to Musk in the successful acquisition of one of the largest social networking platforms in the world. This is the result of building and cultivating the relationship between the South African billionaire and the banking giant at the hands of Birchall.

In July 2018, the day after Musk tweeted that Goldman Sachs and Silver Lake would take on the role of supporting Tesla’s plan to privatize, Birchall texted him advising Musk to consider the role of Morgan Stanley. .

“They are our personal best resource by far. They provided him with financing of $350 million in every way, and every time we needed a loan or wanted a lower interest rate, they accepted it,” Birchall texted in the documents disclosed around the world. around the investigation of Elon Musk’s Tesla takeover tweet.

The former bank manager’s role goes beyond the usual financial matters.

In 2018, he hired a private investigator to investigate a British diver who criticized the idea of ​​​​using SpaceX’s mini-submarine to rescue children trapped in a cave in Thailand.

When Musk called the diver a “pedophile” in a Twitter response, the person sued the Tesla CEO for defamation. In the ensuing trial, it was reported that Birchall, under the name James Brickhouse, hired detectives to investigate the diver. Birchall himself said in court that he defended Musk “instinctively”.

In the end, Musk won the case.

“Loyalty, especially in the family office, is extremely important as you come into contact with the most private and private matters of families,” said Professor Amit.

Vinh Ngo (according to Reuters)

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