SAN FRANCISCO – Former NBCUniversal advertising chief Linda Yaccarino will become Twitter’s new CEO, current chief executive Elon Musk said on Friday in a tweet.
“I am excited to welcome Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of Twitter!” Musk said. “@LindaYacc will focus primarily on business operations, while I focus on product design & new technology.”
Yaccarino modernised the Comcast Corp entertainment and media division’s advertising business and had been in talks for the job before NBC announced her departure Friday morning.
Since Musk acquired Twitter in October, advertisers have fled the platform, worried that their ads could appear next to inappropriate content after the company lost nearly 80 per cent of staff. Musk earlier this year acknowledged that Twitter suffered a massive decline in ad revenue.
Twitter’s “trajectory will immediately take a 180-degree turn” under her leadership, said Lou Paskalis, a long-time ad industry executive and CEO of AJL Advisory, a marketing consultancy.
Musk axed thousands of employees, rushed the launch of a subscription product that allowed scammers to impersonate major brands and suspended users with whom he disagreed.
“I think (Yaccarino) has climbed every mountain she could at NBCU and did it impeccably well. And there’s no greater challenge than restoring order at Twitter,” he said.
Yaccarino could not be reached for comment.
Her exit is another big blow to NBCUniversal. Last month, NBC parent Comcast said NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell was leaving after acknowledging an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company, following a complaint that prompted an investigation.
Advertising President Mark Marshall will step in as interim chairman of NBCUniversal’s advertising and partnerships group. Marshall was named president of ad sales and partnerships in 2018, overseeing NBC’s broadcast entertainment, sports and advanced advertising sales.
Yaccarino’s exit comes at a difficult time for NBCUniversal, which is preparing for its annual upfront presentation to advertisers on Monday at Radio City Music Hall.
Yaccarino joined NBCU in 2011, after 15 years at Turner Entertainment, and has been credited with taking the network’s ad sales operation into the digital era.