After months leading Twitter, the company’s owner, Elon Musk, has tapped NBCUniversal ad sales chief Linda Yaccarino to take the reins as CEO. The two are in advanced talks about the position, sources familiar with the matter told The Post.
Musk has not publicly named Yaccarino but said Thursday that the new CEO will start in about six weeks, after which he will transition to executive chair and chief technology officer.
The choice of Yaccarino, a longtime media industry insider, could signal a change at the ailing microblogging platform and prove a relief to advertisers, many of whom left Twitter after Musk took control. Twitter has laid off roughly three-quarters of its staff, and users have complained about outages and a shift in atmosphere amid sweeping Musk-led changes.
Elon Musk says he has picked a new CEO for Twitter
Whether Yaccarino will restore Twitter’s pre-Musk culture, double down on the tech executive’s approach or transform it into something else entirely will be a key question of her tenure — and users have wasted no time scraping her history to make predictions. Here’s what we know.
Yaccarino is chairman of global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, where she oversees 2,000 workers on a team that has generated more than $100 billion in ad sales, according to her profile on the company’s website. Her team has forged partnerships with Apple News, BuzzFeed, Snapchat and Twitter, among others. Word of her talks with Musk come at a potentially awkward time, as Yaccarino is scheduled to address major NBCUniversal clients on Monday at the company’s “upfront,” an event intended to attract advertisers.
Some Musk fans have zeroed in on Yaccarino’s work with the World Economic Forum, an organization of political power brokers and global business leaders that Musk has criticized, as a sign that she will return Twitter to its old ways or tamp down on Musk’s free-speech initiatives. At the WEF, which promotes globalization and hosts the annual Davos forum, she serves as chairman on the Taskforce on the Future of Work and sits on a committee for media, entertainment and culture, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Responding to some of those concerns in a tweet, Musk said that the platform’s “commitment to open source transparency and accepting a wide range of viewpoints remains unchanged.”
In 2018, Yaccarino was appointed by President Donald Trump to serve a two-year term on his Council on Sports Fitness and Nutrition. As Ad Council chair, Yaccarino also partnered with the Biden White House in 2021 to create a coronavirus vaccine campaign featuring Pope Francis.
Musk and Yaccarino have collaborated previously. The pair appeared onstage together in Miami Beach last month for a talk called “Twitter 2.0: From Conversations to Partnerships,” which was advertised as an “intimate conversation” about Twitter’s role in culture and its future for marketers. NBCUniversal also recently expanded its partnership with Twitter for the 2024 Paris Olympics, a move Yaccarino alluded to in a tweet to Musk last week.
A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, Yaccarino got her start in the media industry as an intern at NBCUniversal’s media planning department, where, she told Salesforce, her “love affair” with media began. She spent nearly two decades in advertising, marketing and acquisitions at Turner before moving back to NBC, where she’s worked for more than a decade.
This is a developing story and will be updated.