Elon Musk's drawn-out search for a new CEO to take over stewardship of Twitter has reportedly come to a close, with the right-wing billionaire selecting Linda Yaccarino, an advertising executive from NBCUniversal, to take the reins of the troubled social media company. Yaccarino's appointment to the post comes after she had spent the past several months providing Musk with strategic advice on how to woo blue chip advertising partners who have been driven away from Twitter by his chaotic management.
On May 12, a day after Musk proclaimed that a new CEO would be starting in roughly six weeks, he announced Yaccarino would be filling the role. Hours earlier, NBCUniversal had announced that Yaccarino, formerly the company’s chairman for Global Advertising and Partnerships, was leaving “effective immediately.”
This announcement comes months after Twitter users voted for Musk to step down in a December poll and he promised to resign as CEO “as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job!”
At NBCUniversal, Yaccarino oversaw all of the network’s ad sales and “made a name for herself by helping traditional television hold its ground in advertising in the era of Facebook and Google,” according to The New York Times. After 12 years at the company, NBCUniversal announced Yaccarino was leaving after reports indicated that she was in talks to be Twitter CEO. NBCUniversal’s announcement comes just days before the company’s upfronts presentation to major advertisers, which Yaccarino was slated to give.
Musk’s tenure as CEO at Twitter has been chaotic and plagued with missteps, harmful content, and plummeting revenue. Yaccarino supported Musk throughout his tenure, giving him a platform with advertisers, maintaining NBCUniversal’s relationship with Twitter while other companies fled, and repeatedly interacting with Musk on Twitter.
In April, Yaccarino gave Musk a platform to address advertisers’ concerns and provided him access to major companies
Amid criticisms about harmful content proliferating on the platform, Yaccarino interviewed Musk at a conference in April with some of the biggest advertisers in attendance. During the interview, Yaccarino asked several questions revolving around Twitter's relationship with advertisers, and Musk reportedly “tried to woo the roomful of marketers with some of his messaging” and “took a handful (several overly fawning)” of questions from the audience.
Following the interview, NBCUniversal and Twitter hosted a private dinner between Musk and numerous top chief marketing officers and publishing executives to address their concerns. The group reportedly planned to meet again in the coming months.
NBCUniversal maintained its relationship with Twitter throughout Musk’s chaotic tenure, continuing to advertise on the platform and announcing new partnerships
Since Musk has taken over Twitter, the company has lost nearly 50% of its monthly ad revenue — trending down from $141 million in October 2022 to $71 million in March 2023 — according to a previous Media Matters analysis. Advertisers have fled the company, at least in part because of concerns that their ads would appear next to harmful content after Musk loosened moderation policies and gutted the company’s moderation team.
Despite other companies fleeing, Yaccarino publicly called for advertisers to hear Musk out in the weeks after he took over the company, and NBCUniversal remained an advertiser and top media partner with Twitter throughout his tenure.
During Twitter’s presentation to ad buyers on May 3 — roughly a week before announcing Yaccarino as CEO — the company even announced that it is working with NBCUniversal on expanding their partnership for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Yaccarino has repeatedly interacted with Musk since he took over the platform, liking his tweets about the company and others pushing right-wing talking points
Yaccarino has mentioned Musk in various tweets in recent weeks and she has repeatedly liked his tweets since he took over Twitter, including those about the company and others pushing right-wing talking points.