May 13, 2023 -Elon Musk confirmed that the new CEO for Twitter will be NBCUniversal’s Linda Yaccarino, an executive with deep ties to the advertising industry.
“I am excited to welcome Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of Twitter!” Musk wrote in a Friday tweet. He added that Yaccarino “will focus primarily on business operations” while Musk will stay closely connected to product design and new technology.
Before that announcement, NBCUniversal said Friday that Yaccarino would step down immediately as chairwoman for global advertising and partnerships.
Musk, who bought Twitter last fall and has been running it since, has long insisted that he would step down as top executive at the company, which is now called X Corp.
Few expect Musk to remove himself from the decision making process at Twitter, however.
“While he’s stepping back from the CEO title, Musk is far from likely to step back from calling the product shots,” said Mike Proulx, research director at Forrester Research.
Yaccarino, with deep roots in the advertising industry, could be a linchpin in Twitter’s future.
Luring advertisers is critical for Musk and Twitter after many fled in the early months after his takeover of the social media platform, fearing harm to their brands in the ensuing chaos. Musk said in late April that advertisers had returned, but provided no details.
Mark DiMassimo, founder and creative chief of ad agency DiGo, said Yaccarino successfully integrated and digitized ad sales at Comcast and NBC — and that her track record of cross-selling ads across different platforms could appeal to Musk as he tries to transform Twitter from a social media company to a bigger media platform.
Yaccarino worked at NBCUniversal for nearly 12 years — with her team generating more than $100 billion in ad sales since 2011, her company bio notes.
According to LinkedIn, Yaccarino previously served as NBC’s chair for advertising and client partnerships and as president of cable entertainment and digital advertising sales. Prior to her time with NBC, Yaccarino worked at global entertainment company Turner for almost two decades.
Last month, Yaccarino interviewed Musk on a Miami stage last month in front of hundreds of advertisers.
“If anyone can translate the Musk vision into advantages for marketers she’ll be able to do it,” DiMassimo said Friday, prior to Musk’s confirmation. “Even though there’s skepticism and all marketers live in the ‘show me’ state right now with regard to Twitter, if in fact she does go to Twitter this is a powerfully reassuring move.”