Elon Musk has appointed Linda Yaccarino, a top ad executive, to lead Twitter’s day-to-day operations and address the challenges faced by the platform since Musk’s controversial $44 billion acquisition last year.
Yaccarino, who resigned from NBCUniversal amid speculation about her role as Twitter CEO, is highly regarded in the advertising industry.
Musk hinted at Yaccarino’s hiring in a tweet, announcing the appointment of a female CEO for Twitter and its parent company, X Corporation, without revealing her identity.
Yaccarino’s departure from NBCUniversal, which owns NBC, Universal, and Telemundo, occurred shortly after her interview with Musk at a marketing conference in Miami. Musk described the post-acquisition experience as a mix of success, entertainment, and occasional chaos.
Yaccarino faces the daunting task of attracting major advertisers back to Twitter, as many are wary of associations with conspiracy theorists and far-right content encouraged by Musk. Her appointment took the US media establishment by surprise, with criticism targeting her role at the World Economic Forum.
Musk clarified that he would retain responsibility for design and technology, while Yaccarino would primarily focus on business operations, transforming Twitter into an all-encompassing “everything app” named X. Musk’s fascination with the letter X dates back to his involvement with X.com, which later became PayPal. He envisions an app similar to China’s WeChat, offering social media, messaging, and mobile payments.
Yaccarino’s previous role at NBCUniversal involved leading a team of 2,000 people and revolutionizing the advertising business for the modern era. Her responsibilities included fostering relationships with major corporations to secure advertising investments across the NBCU network.
Jasmine Engberg, an analyst at Insider Intelligence, believes Yaccarino is the ideal candidate to restore advertiser trust and attract prominent brands to Twitter. However, she acknowledges the challenges Yaccarino will face in reestablishing professionalism on the platform.
Since Musk assumed full ownership of Twitter, he has courted controversy by dismissing staff, reintroducing far-right figures, suspending journalists, and implementing charges for previously free services. With the appointment of Yaccarino, Musk is finally fulfilling his promise to abide by the results of a Twitter poll that indicated a majority of participants wanted him to step down.
Wall Street had grown frustrated with Twitter diverting Musk’s attention from his other ventures, and Tesla’s share prices rose upon news of a CEO being found for Twitter.