Elon Musk has appointed advertising executive Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of Twitter, as he seeks to revitalize the struggling platform that he acquired for $44 billion.
Yaccarino, a respected figure in the advertising industry, recently stepped down from her position at NBCUniversal amid speculation about her potential appointment as Twitter CEO.
Following Musk’s controversial takeover, Twitter has faced challenges in maintaining its reputation and attracting high-paying advertisers due to the reintroduction of controversial and far-right figures on the platform.
Musk teased Yaccarino’s hiring in a tweet, announcing that he had selected a woman to replace him as the CEO of Twitter and its parent company, the newly named X Corporation.
Excited to announce that I’ve hired a new CEO for X/Twitter. She will be starting in ~6 weeks!
My role will transition to being exec chair & CTO, overseeing product, software & sysops.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2023
Yaccarino’s departure from NBCUniversal, which owns NBC, Universal, and Telemundo, came shortly after she interviewed Musk at a marketing conference in Miami.
Her task as the new CEO will be to win back major advertisers who have concerns about associating their brands with conspiracy theorists and far-right content that Musk encouraged on Twitter. Yaccarino’s hiring surprised the US media establishment, particularly due to her senior role at the World Economic Forum, which drew criticism from conservative outlets.
In his tweet, Musk stated that he would retain control over design and technology at Twitter, while Yaccarino would primarily focus on business operations and transform Twitter into an “everything app” called X.
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
Musk has a history with the letter “X,” having been involved with X.com, an online bank that eventually became PayPal. His vision for Twitter is to create a comprehensive platform similar to China’s WeChat, encompassing social media, messaging, and mobile payments.
Yaccarino’s experience at NBCUniversal, where she led a team of 2,000 people and spearheaded the modernization of the advertising business, positions her well to rebuild trust with advertisers and bring back prominent brands to Twitter.
However, analysts suggest that she will face significant challenges in restoring professionalism and addressing the issues that have arisen under Musk’s leadership. Since Musk took over, Twitter has experienced staff layoffs, controversial content moderation decisions, and the introduction of paid services. Nonetheless, Musk’s appointment of Yaccarino fulfills his promise to abide by the results of a Twitter poll in which the majority voted for him to step down as CEO.
The announcement of Yaccarino’s appointment is expected to alleviate Wall Street’s concerns about Musk’s divided attention and potential distractions from his other ventures, with Tesla’s stock prices rising on the news of a new CEO for Twitter. With Yaccarino at the helm, Twitter aims to regain advertiser trust, attract major brands, and reestablish its professional standing in the industry.