Elon Musk appoints new Twitter CEO, NBCU’s Linda Yaccarino
The rumors are true: Elon Musk has chosen NBCU leader Linda Yaccarino as the next CEO of Twitter.
Musk confirmed Yaccarino’s new role in a tweet this morning, a day after he announced that he had completed his search for a new CEO.
“Looking forward to working with Linda to transform this platform into X, the everything app,” wrote Musk.
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
Yaccarino announced on Friday morning that she was leaving her role as chairman of Global Advertising & Partnerships at NBCU. Yaccarino worked at NBCU since 2011. Before that, she spent nearly 20 years at Turner as an executive vice president in advertising. In 2018, she was appointed by former president Donald Trump to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition.
It’s smart to put a well-known advertising executive at the helm of Twitter, since Musk’s leadership has tanked that key facet of Twitter’s business. Musk said he will stay on as chairman and “CTO, overseeing product, software & sysops.” With erratic content moderation policies and inconsistent, sometimes misleading verification systems, Twitter has bled advertisers. The company has also laid off critical teams for revenue generations, like its sales team.
Musk and Yaccarino already seem to have a bit of a rapport. Last month, Yaccarino interviewed Musk at an advertising conference in Miami, where she seemed complimentary of the business mogul.
“Elon has committed to being accessible to everyone for continual feedback,” she said onstage. “He’s also opened up himself to also participate in the new transparency and safety rules he posted yesterday. Just remember, freedom of speech does not mean freedom of reach.”
She also pointed out to Elon that “the people in this room are [Twitter’s] path to profitability.” Since its inception, Twitter’s most effective way to make money has been advertising, and Musk’s attempts to monetize the blue check have not been successful.
We don’t know whether the two of them were in negotiations at the time, but Yaccarino seemed motivated to sanitize the Twitter brand, encouraging audience members to voice their concerns to Musk in an Q&A. She echoed Musk’s viewpoint on freedom of speech as it pertains to advertisers, which is that freedom of speech doesn’t mean “freedom of reach.”
“If freedom of speech, as he says, is the bedrock of this country, I’m not sure there’s anyone in this room who could disagree with that,” Yaccarino said when interviewing Musk. “Could I get a round of applause for that?”
This story is developing…
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.