Twitter owner Elon Musk has appointed Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of the social media platform. Musk said on Friday that Yaccarino will focus on business operations while he will deal with product design and technology. Yaccarino was the chief of advertising at NBCUniversal before joining Twitter.
As it happened on Friday, NBCUniversal announced that Yaccarino was leaving the media organization – effective immediately – and by afternoon, Musk announced that the 60-year-old ad chief was joining Twitter as CEO.
“I am excited to welcome Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of Twitter,” Musk tweeted. “Linda Yacc will focus primarily on business operations, while I focus on product design and new technology. Looking forward to working with Linda to transform this platform into X – the everything app.”
In April, Yaccarino interviewed Musk on advertising-related issues and how he was working to revamp Twitter into Twitter 2.0. There was no indication that the advertising expert would join Twitter until the news on Friday. The development caught many of her colleagues by surprise, with some of them saying Yaccarino was taking a huge risk by accepting to work for Musk.
“With her stature in the industry as probably one of the most beloved and trusted people on the revenue side, I question why she would subject herself to that kind of potential reputational risk,” said Lou Paskalis, a longtime advertising guru and friend of Yaccarino. He said the former NBCUniversal’s advertising head was taking a “step into the lion’s mouth.”
However, given that Musk retrenched 75% of Twitter’s workforce after acquiring the social media platform last year for $44 billion, and the fact that most big-time advertisers exited the platform following a series of changes Musk instituted, it is evident that Musk wanted Yaccarino in Twitter to win back top-tier corporate advertisers.
He even complained that Twitter’s worth was down to $20 billion and that he owed $13 billion out of the $44 billion expended to acquire the platform. So it is clear that Musk, 51, wants the new CEO to help grow the platform’s revenue base and to make the company very profitable again. “Linda’s a force,” said Joe Marchese, the former head of ad sales at Fox Networks Group. “She has one of the biggest jobs in advertising, and the ad market is as hard as it’s ever been.”
Yaccarino is the daughter of Italian parents and grew up in Long Island, New York. Her father was a police officer and she attended a Catholic school. She finished from Pennsylvania State University in 1985 with a degree in telecommunications. She worked at Turner Entertainment for nearly 20 years and eventually became the chief operating officer (COO) for advertising. She joined NBCUniversal in 2011.