Elon Musk’s New Twitter CEO Is Former NBCU Exec Linda Yaccarino


Twitter owner Elon Musk announced that NBCUniversal head of advertising Linda Yaccarino, an industry veteran with more three decades of experience, would be the social media company’s next CEO. Musk told the world how he felt about Yaccarino’s profession in a 2019 tweet: “I hate advertising.”

After numerous outlets published reports naming Yaccarino as the top contender, Musk confirmed her new position in a tweet on Friday. Musk shocked the internet on Thursday when he announced that he had found a new CEO for his flailing social media company, although he didn’t reveal her identity, only her tentative start date.

“I am excited to welcome Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of Twitter!” Musk tweeted on Friday morning. “@LindaYacc will focus primarily on business operations, while I focus on product design & new technology. Looking forward to working with Linda to transform this platform into X, the everything app.”

On Thursday, Musk said that Yaccarino would be starting at Twitter in about six weeks, although it’s not clear whether that’s still the plan given that Yaccarino resigned from her role as chairman of global advertising and partnerships at NBCU on Friday morning as speculation mounted

“Excited to announce that I’ve hired a new CEO for X/Twitter. She will be starting in ~6 weeks!” Musk tweeted on Thursday afternoon. “My role will transition to being exec chair & CTO, overseeing product, software & sysops.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Yaccarino oversees about $13 billion in annual ad revenue for NBCU, which is well-beyond the $4 billion per year that Twitter used to bring in before Musk’s acquisition. The NBCU executive has close relationships with marketers and advertising agencies and is known for her tough negotiating skills, the Journal reported.

Yaccarino interviewed Musk last month at her “Possible” advertising conference in Miami, where he tried to encourage advertisers to come back to the platform while also warning them to stop telling him what to do.

“It’s totally cool to say that you want to have your advertising appear in certain places of Twitter and not in other places,” Musk said at the conference. “But it is not cool to say what Twitter will do. And if that means losing advertising dollars, we’ll lose them. But freedom of speech is paramount.”

Twitter’s advertising business has taken a hit since Musk took over the company last October, when he reinstated banned accounts belonging to neo-Nazis, tweeted out conspiracy theories, and laid off employees charged with moderating the platform. In the first quarter of the year, 37 of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers spent nothing on ads on the platform. Meanwhile, 24 other companies have reduced their ad spend by 80% or more, as told by the Journal. Yaccarino has apparently been telling her friends that she wants the Twitter CEO job, the Verge reported.

Musk’s announce about a new CEO is already proving to be a welcome relief for Tesla, Musk’s other company. Tesla shareholders have been begging Musk to pay more attention to Tesla, which provides most of his wealth, for months now. Tesla stock was up 2.10% on Friday morning.

Update 5/12/2023, 9:13 a.m. ET: This post has been updated with information about Yaccarino’s resignation from NBCU.

Update 5/12/2023, 12:27 p.m. ET: This post has been updated to confirm Yaccarino’s appointment as Twitter CEO.

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