Elon Musk selected a new Twitter CEO six months after his controversial acquisition.
The billionaire stated that Linda Yaccarino, the former director of advertising at NBCUniversal, will oversee the site’s struggling business operations.
He stated that she will begin in six weeks.
Mr. Musk will retain his executive chairman and chief technology officer positions.
“Looking forward to working with Linda to transform this platform into X, the everything app,” he wrote on Twitter, verifying the decision a day after he had stoked rumors by writing that he had found a new supervisor without identifying them.
Mr. Musk, who purchased the social media platform for $44bn last year, was under pressure to find a new leader and refocus his attention on his other businesses, which include electric automaker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX.
After rising steadily through the ranks of some of America’s largest media companies, Ms. Yaccarino will become that uncommon example of a woman at the top of a major tech firm, with less than 10% of Fortune 500 tech companies being led by women.
Who exactly is Linda Yaccarino?
Ms. Yaccarino was reared in an Italian-American family by a police officer father and a non-college-educated mother.
After graduating from Penn State, she spent 15 years at Turner Entertainment before joining NBCUniversal. Where she supervised approximately 2,000 employees and participated in the introduction of its streaming service.
Her work has been characterized by close collaborations with major brands, identifying opportunities for product placement and persuading them to advertise alongside television programs – even those with a reputation for controversial content, such as Sex and the City when it first debuted.
She has also developed relationships in new media with Apple News, Snapchat, and YouTube, among others.
A 2005 industry publication profile depicted her as a busy, married mother of two children, then aged 13 and 9.
“I have absolutely no hobbies,” she stated at the time.
Claire Atkinson of Business Insider has tracked Ms. Yaccarino’s career for two decades and believes that her background in advertising could benefit Twitter, whose ad sales have dropped significantly since Mr. Musk’s takeover.
“If Twitter wants to monetize better than it has in the past, then this is where they should begin. And Linda would be the ideal person to make that happen,” said the chief media correspondent.
Ms. Atkinson added, “I can imagine Elon Musk requiring her services.” “She won’t be rolled over.”
Indeed, her negotiation style within the industry gained her the moniker “velvet hammer” in 2012, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Ms. Yaccarino will confront the challenge of running a business that has struggled to be profitable, as well as intense scrutiny regarding how Twitter handles the spread of misinformation and hate speech.
Last year, when Mr. Musk first began discussing his plans for Twitter, he stated that he wanted to reduce the platform’s reliance on advertising and modify its content moderation.
He wanted to rename the site X and include payments, encrypted messaging, and phone conversations.
But Mr. Musk courted controversy by firing thousands of employees upon his acquisition, including those tasked with addressing abusive posts.
He also charged for blue checkmarks, which critics believe will spread misinformation.
Some advertisers, fearing for the safety of their brands as a result of certain adjustments, ceased spending on the site.
Mr. Musk has acknowledged “massive” revenue declines but stated that businesses were returning.
Last month, Ms. Yaccarino asked Mr. Musk about his efforts to reassure firms.
“The people in this room are your accelerated path to profitability,” she declared. However, there are numerous skeptics in the room.
On social media, many questioned Ms. Yaccarino’s appointment, looking for signs of her conservative politics.
Her work for the World Economic Forum, an organization viewed negatively as “globalist” by those on the right, and her role in a coronavirus vaccination campaign featuring Pope Francis has not been well received in some quarters.
Others on the left have questioned her political participation on a White House sports, fitness, and nutrition council during the administration of former President Donald Trump.
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is notoriously demanding and unpredictable.
After media reports prompted by Mr. Musk’s post that identified Ms. Yaccarino appeared to surprise her superiors at NBC Universal, the announcement was made unusually.
As of midday on Friday in the United States, Ms. Yaccarino had not publicly commented on the move.
Industry watchers will follow the New Yorker’s connection with the hands-on Mr. Musk.
Ms. Atkinson stated that the two Twitter executives would have “difficult conversations” about how to manage moderation, particularly in light of the upcoming US presidential election in 2024.
“It’s anyone’s guess how long Linda can endure these difficult management situations,” Ms. Atkinson said.