Story updated on May 12:
Elon Musk confirmed Friday that Linda Yaccarino will be stepping in as the new CEO of Twitter. The ad exec stepped down from her post at NBCUniversal earlier that morning.
“I am excited to welcome Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of Twitter!” Musk wrote to Twitter, announcing the news. He added that she “will focus primarily on business operations, while I focus on product design & new technology.”
“Looking forward to working with Linda to transform this platform into X, the everything app,” he said.
Original story below:
Elon Musk has announced a new Twitter CEO is on her way and should be running the ship in about six weeks. Musk declined to name his replacement in his tweet announcing the news, but he has reportedly hired Linda Yaccarino, the chairman of global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal.
It was unclear what the X in Musk’s tweet referencing X/Twitter was regarding, but Musk launched an AI company last month called X.AI.
The Wall Street Journal first reported Musk’s hiring of Yaccarino, who has been with NBCUniversal for more than a decade. The Journal report cited sources familiar with the situation, saying Yaccarino was negotiating the terms for her move to Twitter. Yaccarino was instrumental in launching NBCU’s ad-supported streaming service Peacock.
Yaccarino is certainly no stranger to Musk. In April, she interviewed him at the Mobile Marketing Association’s Possible Event in Miami. In November, she had asked members of the advertising community who were concerned about the amount of racist content on Twitter to give the Tesla founder “a minute.”
As noted in his tweet, Musk will not be leaving Twitter entirely; he will instead transition to executive chair & CTO, overseeing product, software & sysops (system operations).
The business magnate has long held the stance that being Twitter CEO was not a permanent move for him. Back in December, he tweeted “I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job! After that, I will just run the software & servers teams.”
True to his word, it seems he’s done exactly what he said he’d do, having found someone apparently “foolish enough” to take on the role.
It’s been a rocky road for Twitter since Musk took over, with many advertisers abandoning or diminishing their presence on the platform due to factors such as mounting toxicity and platform unrest. There have also been large-scale cultural conversations surrounding Musk’s stance that blue checkmarks should be available to anyone and everyone (for a price).
Major shakeups to Twitter’s ecosystem don’t seem set to stop anytime soon, as evidenced by Tucker Carlson’s recent announcement that he’ll be hosting an entire show on the platform following his split with Fox News.
Yaccarino has an intimidating task on her hands. She’ll need to juggle the political challenges of a platform that’s been accused of various biases over its lifetime, handle the ongoing advertiser quagmire, and contend with the very nature of Twitter, which has long been a place of chaotic, short-form exchange.
Sharon Knolle contributed to this report.