Twitter’s new CEO is an NBCUniversal executive with deep ad industry ties

Elon Musk has confirmed that Twitter’s new CEO will be NBCUniversal’s Linda Iaccarino, an executive with deep ties to the advertising industry.

I am delighted to welcome Linda Iaccarino as the new CEO of Twitter! Musk wrote in a tweet on Friday. He added that Yaccarino will focus primarily on business operations, “while Musk will remain closely associated with product design and new technology.”

Prior to the announcement, NBCUniversal said on Friday that Yaccarino would be stepping down immediately as president of global advertising and partnerships.

Musk, who bought Twitter last fall and has run it since, has long insisted he would step down as CEO at the company, now called X Corp.

But few people expected Musk to remove himself from Twitter’s decision-making process.

Mike Proulx, director of research at Forrester Research, said that while he is stepping back from the CEO role, Musk is not likely to back down from releasing product shots.

Deeply rooted in the advertising industry, Yaccarino could be a mainstay in Twitter’s future.

Attracting advertisers is crucial for Musk and Twitter after many of them fled in the early months after his takeover of the social media platform, fearing damage to their brands in the ensuing chaos. Advertisers are back, Musk said in late April, but did not elaborate.

Mark DiMasimo, founder and chief creative officer of ad agency DiGo, said Yaccarino has successfully integrated and digitized ad sales at Comcast and NBC and that its track record of cross-selling ads across different platforms could appeal to Musk as he tries to transform Twitter from a social media company to a larger media platform. .

Yaccarino has worked at NBCUniversal for nearly 12 years with a team that has generated more than $100 billion in advertising sales since 2011, according to her company bio.

According to LinkedIn, Yaccarino previously served as NBC’s president of advertising and client partnerships and president of cable entertainment and digital ad sales. Prior to her employment with NBC, Yaccarino worked for the global entertainment company, Turner, for nearly two decades.

Last month, Yaccarino interviewed Musk on the Miami stage last month in front of hundreds of advertisers.

If anyone can translate Musk’s vision into benefits for marketers, DiMassimo said Friday, before Musk’s confirmation, they can.

While there are skepticism and all marketers are living in the show case for me now regarding Twitter, if it is in fact going to Twitter, it is a strongly reassuring move.

Proulx added that the announcement isn’t the only challenge Twitter’s new CEO will face after all, Musk has fundamentally changed Twitter as a product and society, arguably for the worse.

Musk’s tenure at the helm of Twitter has been chaotic. His first day began with the firing of the company’s top executives, followed by nearly 80 percent of its employees, meaning Twitter has far fewer engineers to ensure the site runs smoothly and far fewer content moderators to help weed out hate speech. and animal cruelty and graphic violence.

It has turned the platform’s verification regime on its head and reduced protections against the spread of disinformation.

It’s been some of those changes along with Musk’s penchant for spreading misinformation and dealing with high-profile conspiracy theorists and far-right figures that analysts say has made many advertisers on the platform nervous.

Restoring advertiser trust will require stabilizing Twitter and ensuring that key product decisions are made thoughtfully and deliberately and not, as is often known, a masker, inspired by a fan tweet or fleeting idea.

Industry insiders describe Yaccarino as a marketer with major advertising experience, but if she’s going to be successful on the business side, she’ll need to buy out Musk on the product side.

Musk’s policy changes led to divisions among users, some of whom left the platform. There was more of that on Friday, but from some of Musk’s most vocal supporters.

Some have focused on Yaccarino’s affiliation with the World Economic Forum, an organization Musk has previously criticized suggesting this may signal a move away from Musk’s 2.0 values ​​at Twitter.

However, Musk said Thursday that the platform’s commitment to open source transparency and acceptance of a wide range of viewpoints has not changed.

Others have also questioned Jacarino’s political leanings.

In 2018, Donald Trump appointed Iaccarino to serve on his Council on Fitness and Nutrition for two years. As chair of the Ad Council in 2021 and 2022, she also worked with the Biden White House to help create a coronavirus vaccination campaign that has reached more than 200 million Americans.

Last November, Musk was questioned in court about how he splits his time between Tesla and his other companies, including SpaceX and Twitter.

Musk had to testify at trial before the Delaware Judicial Court over a shareholder’s challenge to the potential $55 billion compensation plan as CEO of the electric car company.

Musk has said he never intended to be the CEO of Tesla, and that he didn’t want to be the CEO of any other company either, preferring to see himself as an engineer.

Musk also said at the time that he expected Twitter’s organizational restructuring to be completed in the next week or so. It’s been nearly six months since he said that.

Joking with his Twitter followers late last year, Musk was pessimistic about the prospects of hiring a new CEO, saying that someone must love pain a lot to run a company that was on the verge of bankruptcy.

Nobody wants the job that can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor, Musk tweeted at the time.

(Only the title and image for this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard team; the rest of the content is generated automatically from a shared feed.)