Home > Technology > Elon Musk Appoints Linda Yaccarino Twitter’s New Chief

Elon Musk Appoints Linda Yaccarino Twitter’s New Chief

Linda Yaccarino, NBCUniversal’s promoting chief, was getting ready to interview Elon Musk, Twitter’s proprietor, onstage at a convention final month when she obtained an e mail from a peer within the promoting trade.

Rob Norman, a former govt on the advert large WPP, wished to know if Ms. Yaccarino had seen the op-ed he wrote after Mr. Musk purchased Twitter final yr. Mr. Norman’s column mentioned the tech billionaire’s amplification of misinformation on Twitter and its chilling impact on advertisers.

Ms. Yaccarino stated that she had and that she deliberate to lift such considerations, Mr. Norman stated. However the primary focus of her discuss with Mr. Musk could be on one thing else: His efforts to revamp the social community into “Twitter 2.0.”

Now Ms. Yaccarino is ready to change into the face of Twitter 2.0. Mr. Musk stated on Friday that he had chosen Ms. Yaccarino, 60, to change into the corporate’s chief govt. Hours earlier, NBCUniversal introduced that Ms. Yaccarino was leaving, efficient instantly.

“I’m excited to welcome Linda Yaccarino as the brand new C.E.O. of Twitter,” Mr. Musk tweeted. He stated she would primarily deal with enterprise operations whereas he would proceed engaged on product design and expertise.

In selecting Ms. Yaccarino, Mr. Musk is signaling what his precedence is at Twitter: its promoting enterprise, slightly than social media know-how. Ms. Yaccarino has been one in all Madison Avenue’s energy brokers for many years. And Twitter, which makes the majority of its income from adverts, has struggled to increase that enterprise, particularly after Mr. Musk spooked advertisers final yr.

“Linda’s a pressure,” stated Joe Marchese, the previous head of advert gross sales on the Fox Networks Group, who has identified Ms. Yaccarino for at the least a decade. “She has one of many greatest jobs in promoting, and the advert market is as exhausting because it’s ever been.”

But Ms. Yaccarino should do greater than take care of Twitter’s promoting woes. The corporate, which is predicated in San Francisco, has been severely slimmed down since Mr. Musk slashed 75 % of its work pressure and has grappled with gaps in experience and technical glitches. Twitter can also be weighed down by $13 billion in debt that it took on to allow Mr. Musk to purchase the corporate.

Most importantly, Ms. Yaccarino must take care of a mercurial and unpredictable boss in Mr. Musk. The 51-year-old billionaire has a monitor document of firing executives who don’t obtain his targets. He generally tweets information about his varied firms, which additionally embrace the electrical carmaker Tesla, with out warning. And as Twitter’s proprietor, Mr. Musk retains absolute energy on the firm.

Mr. Musk already upended Ms. Yaccarino’s fastidiously laid plans when he tweeted on Thursday that he had chosen a brand new Twitter chief, although he didn’t establish her. Ms. Yaccarino, who was in back-to-back rehearsals for NBC’s annual pitch to main advertisers when the tweet went out, hadn’t knowledgeable lots of her fellow executives that she was planning to depart, 4 folks with data of the matter stated.

Lou Paskalis, a longtime advert govt and pal of Ms. Yaccarino, likened her transfer to Twitter to taking a “step into the lion’s mouth.”

“Together with her stature within the trade as in all probability one of the beloved and trusted folks on the income aspect, I query why she would topic herself to that form of potential reputational danger,” he stated.

Mr. Musk and Ms. Yaccarino could also be betting that there’s loads of upside with Twitter 2.0. Mr. Musk has laid out bold plans for the corporate, telling workers that it might be price $250 billion in the future and that the platform might be an “every little thing app,” with options like funds. (He not too long ago stated that Twitter is price $20 billion, down from the $44 billion he paid for it.)

Ms. Yaccarino has already been engaged on her priorities at Twitter. One one who has spoken along with her in current days stated that she is concentrated on repairing the corporate’s relationship with Madison Avenue and wooing media firms again to the platform, probably with partnership offers.

And she or he and Mr. Musk seem aligned on political points — comparable to a extra permissive method towards speech on Twitter — which are central to his imaginative and prescient for the platform, two folks aware of her views stated. She is a conservative and a critic of so-called woke discourse, a time period utilized by conservatives to explain components of left-wing social progressivism they view as censorious, they stated.

Former President Donald J. Trump twice appointed Ms. Yaccarino to two-year phrases on the President’s Council on Sports activities, Health and Vitamin, the place she joined would-be Republican politicians comparable to Mehmet Oz, the superstar doctor.

Ms. Yaccarino, who didn’t return requests for remark, grew up with working-class Italian dad and mom in Lengthy Island, New York, together with a father who was a police officer. She attended Catholic college. After graduating from Pennsylvania State College in 1985 with a telecommunications diploma, she spent practically 20 years at Turner Leisure, turning into chief working officer of promoting gross sales, advertising and marketing and acquisitions earlier than leaving for NBCUniversal in 2011.

At Turner and NBCUniversal, Ms. Yaccarino — who has been stated to barter like a “velvet hammer” — made a reputation for herself by serving to conventional tv maintain its floor in promoting within the period of Fb and Google. Every year, she strode onstage at Radio Metropolis Music Corridor for the upfront displays, the glitzy showcases utilized by tv networks to woo Madison Avenue, to steer entrepreneurs to pay a hefty premium over social media charges to promote on reveals like “This Is Us” and “Saturday Evening Dwell.”

However whereas Ms. Yaccarino has spent years defending TV advert {dollars} from tech firms and been a fierce critic of Fb and YouTube, she has additionally struck partnerships with apps like Snapchat and TikTok and digital shops like BuzzFeed.

Exterior work, Ms. Yaccarino turned concerned in initiatives together with the World Financial Discussion board’s Taskforce on Way forward for Work, which she heads. She was additionally a chair on the board of the Advert Council, a nonprofit, and helped the group increase $60 million in three months early within the pandemic to assist counter vaccine hesitancy, making non-public calls, sending notes and “working each lever that she had,” stated Lisa Sherman, the council’s chief govt.

Ms. Yaccarino reached out to Mr. Musk across the time of the Tremendous Bowl in February to debate a partnership with NBCUniversal and probably becoming a member of Twitter as chief govt, three folks aware of their talks stated.

She had beforehand expressed admiration for Twitter, calling the platform “the one, No. 1 greatest” content material distribution companion for NBCUniversal at an advert trade occasion quickly after Mr. Musk took over the corporate. On the time, she added that she didn’t plan to “wager in opposition to him” and that she believed he may “study promoting.”

“I believe we are able to train him,” she stated.

This week, Ms. Yaccarino was in attendance when Mr. Musk spoke at an promoting convention in California’s Napa Valley hosted by WPP, three folks aware of the occasion stated.

Ms. Yaccarino could be a uncommon feminine chief govt in expertise, as prime executives like Meta’s Sheryl Sandberg and YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki have not too long ago left their roles. All through her profession, Ms. Yaccarino has typically stated that she has been the one lady on the desk and has described incidents of bias, such because the time a male supervisor complained in an in any other case flattering efficiency evaluate about her aggressiveness: “I solely want she would cease utilizing her excessive heels as a weapon.”

Whereas Ms. Yaccarino is lively on Twitter, her habits are sedate in comparison with Mr. Musk’s, although in current weeks, she has preferred dozens of posts by and about him.

Nonetheless, the variations between Mr. Musk and Ms. Yaccarino had been clear final month on the media convention in Miami. A refined Ms. Yaccarino got here with ready feedback. An unshaven Mr. Musk spent just a few moments wrangling his toddler son, X Æ A-12, earlier than becoming a member of her and providing generally halting solutions to her questions.

Ms. Yaccarino returned repeatedly to worries that her trade colleagues have voiced since Mr. Musk took management of Twitter, emphasizing a number of instances that the viewers of advert executives was essential to the corporate’s monetary success.

Mr. Musk stated that “there’s official considerations that advertisers have that I wish to hear.” He recounted a grievance he had heard from David Zaslav, the chief govt of Warner Bros. Discovery, who was annoyed that he was unable to put adverts for “White Lotus,” the hit HBO present, subsequent to discussions of “White Lotus” on Twitter.

The difficulty has since been fastened, Mr. Musk stated.

Ms. Yaccarino answered: “So it’s a brand new starting.”

John Koblin contributed reporting from New York.


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