In a surprising turn of events, Linda Yaccarino, the erstwhile advertising chief of NBCUniversal responsible for the company’s online streaming service, Peacock, has been handpicked by Elon Musk, Twitter’s new owner, to take the helm as the CEO of the revamped social media platform.
Yaccarino, 60, is now poised to become the face of this revamped platform. Musk announced her appointment as the new CEO of Twitter via a tweet on Friday.
Musk stated that while he would continue to shape the product design and technology aspects of the platform, Yaccarino's primary responsibility would lie in managing the business operations.
This announcement closely followed NBCUniversal's statement that Yaccarino was leaving the company with immediate effect, without mentioning her next career move.
Musk's decision to bring Yaccarino on board underscores his emphasis on bolstering Twitter's advertising business. Yaccarino, a veteran and powerhouse figure on Madison Avenue, is expected to rejuvenate Twitter's advertising revenue, which has been floundering, especially after advertisers were deterred by Musk's takeover. Some advertisers were spurred on to boycott the platform following pressure from left-wing activist groups.
"Linda’s a force," said Joe Marchese, the former head of ad sales at Fox Networks Group, and a one-time competitor for advertising dollars. "She has one of the biggest jobs in advertising, and the ad market is as hard as its ever been,” the New York Times reported.
However, Yaccarino’s challenge extends beyond reviving Twitter's advertising fortunes. Musk's severe downsizing efforts have left Twitter leaner by 75 percent of its workforce, leading to technical glitches and expertise voids. The company also bears a hefty $13 billion debt burden, accumulated to facilitate Musk's acquisition.
The New York Times reports that ad executive Lou Paskalis compared her transition to Twitter as taking a "step into the lion’s mouth." Given Yaccarino's sterling reputation in the industry, Paskalis expressed concern about the potential reputational risk she may be undertaking. He remarked, “If she fails in the role, then there’s probably no way that Twitter will survive as an ad-supported platform.”