UPDATED – This story has been updated to include the confirmation of Yaccarino as new CEO.
Elon Musk has announced the appointment of NBCUniversal executive Linda Yaccarino as new CEO of Twitter.
The billionaire entrepreneur said he is “excited” to announce the hiring of Yaccarino, who would focus “primarily on business operations” at the social media platform.
“[She] will focus primarily on business operations, while I focus on product design & new technology,’ Musk wrote on Twitter on Friday.
“Looking forward to working with Linda to transform this platform into X, the everything app.”
I am excited to welcome Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of Twitter!
@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. https://t.co/TiSJtTWuky
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 12, 2023
On Thursday, Musk revealed he had found someone to replace him at Twitter but he did not name the new executive. The market was awash with rumors it would be Yaccarino, as earlier reported by the Wall Street Journal.
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The Tesla and SpaceX CEO announced in a tweet that the new CEO will start in the role within the next six weeks.
Previously, he said his dog was the new CEO of the social media platform.
“Excited to announce that I’ve hired a new CEO for X/Twitter. She will be starting in 6 weeks!” said Musk in a tweet on Thursday.
The big boss is expected to maintain a firm grip on Twitter, whether he names a new CEO or not.
He said he will become the firm’s executive chair and chief technology officer, overseeing product, software and system operations.
Is Linda the one “foolish enough” for the job?
In December, Musk ran a poll on Twitter asking users if he should step back from the role of CEO. The poll ended with the majority of users, 57%, voting in the affirmative.
Musk went on to say he would abide by the poll results but later backtracked, suggesting he’d hand over the role as soon as he found “someone foolish enough to take the job!”
Later in February, he reiterated that he planned to find a replacement by year-end; is Yaccarino the one to replace him?
While he did not mention his successor, Yaccarino’s name has popped up repeatedly. Journalist and founder of media company Puck, Dylan Byers, has also confirmed it’s her in a tweet.
“Elon Musk plans to make NBCUniversal advertising chief LINDA YACARRINO the next CEO of Twitter, per two sources familiar…” he said, and also hinted she shared the same political views as Musk.
Recently, Yaccarino hosted and interviewed Musk at the “Possible” advertising conference, a popular marketing expo in Miami.
A report in Verge says the interview was “gushing” and Yaccarino has been tweeting about how excited she is that NBCU was partnering with Twitter for the next Olympics.
She also said she was a big backer of “freedom of speech” in a tweet sharing the chat.
Yaccarino has been with NBCUniversal for over a decade. As chairman of global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, she has strived to improve the effectiveness of advertising and played a key role in the launch of the organization’s ad-supported Peacock streaming service, per the WSJ.
Her LinkedIn profile, meanwhile, indicates she has a 2,000-member global team that connects emerging and established brands to hundreds of millions of views, driving impact across every sector.
Other names thrown in the ring
According to a report by Business Insider, speculation is also high that Ella Irwin is a favorite to take on the CEO post. She is Twitter’s vice president of trust and safety and reportedly a Musk loyalist.
Irwin replaced Yoel Roth in the role late last year, after Roth seemed to have a falling out with Musk over the company’s efforts around health.
Reports suggest Irwin has been crucial in bringing changes to the micro-blogging firm, like doing away with misinformation policies. She has earlier worked for Google and Amazon, where her focus was on trust and safety in ads and marketplace risk.
“Everyone thinks it is going to be her,” an employee told Business Insider.
According to the report, a person familiar with the company indicated the delay in the CEO’s start date could be related to Irwin currently living in Seattle and moving to San Francisco, where Twitter is based.
Inheriting a litany of challenges
The next CEO is expected to deal with a complex host of challenges at the social media platform which Musk bought for $44 billion last October. The billionaire brought sweeping changes to the company, and said he wanted to build Twitter beyond social media and into an “everything app,” including financial services.
Musk implemented thousands of job cuts, scaled back the company’s content moderation, and allowed accounts previously banned for breaking rules to return.
Among other issues, the new executive will have to deal with the fallout from ownership, including an advertiser exodus.
Despite a slight uptick in users since early 2022, Twitter’s revenue has fallen by 50% since October due to a “massive decline” in advertising, Musk revealed in March. Its Twitter Blue subscription service plan has also been failing drawing less than 1% of the user base.
With Yaccarino, Twitter will get an executive with deep ties to the advertising industry and extensive experience in the media sector, as well as personal relationships with most executives of advertising holding companies, a key constituency for Twitter.