NBCUniversal’s Television and Streaming chairman Mark Lazarus addressed the shocking departure of advertising powerhouse Linda Yaccarino, who exited the company after more than a decade on Friday to serve as the new chief executive officer of Twitter.
“So what was more surprising today, being welcomed by a foul-mouthed teddy bear or seeing me up here on stage?” Lazarus asked an audience of advertisers during the company’s Upfront presentation on Monday, referencing a raunchy musical opening from Seth MacFarlane’s Ted. “In all seriousness, Linda and I’ve worked together for many, many years here at NBC and in our time in sales at Turner, and for her many contributions and for building an excellent team here. We want to thank her and wish her well.”
Since joining NBCUniversal in 2011, Yaccarino’s team has generated more than $100 billion in ad sales, expanded the company’s reach globally and helped launch Peacock. More recently, she was gearing up to take a new, unified ad-selling approach to the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. Her departure follows the unexpected ouster of NBCU’s former CEO Jeff Shell following his admission of an improper relationship with a NBCUniversal employee. Yaccarino was one of Shell’s direct reports who got a new boss, Comcast President Mike Cavanagh, when Shell departed.
“While you may not have been expecting me I’m glad to be here and to see so many familiar faces,” Lazarus added. “We’ve had some changes around here, but the strength, expertise and spirit of this company remain not only intact, but stronger than ever.”
NBCU’s president of advertising sales and client partnerships Mark Marshall has been appointed as interim chairman of the company’s advertising and partnerships group, reporting directly to Lazarus.
Marshall was named to president of NBCUniversal’s advertising sales and partnerships division in 2018, where he’s had strategic oversight of all advertising sales initiatives for NBC Broadcast Entertainment, NBC Sports, advanced advertising sales and client partnerships. Previously, Marshall served as executive vice president of the Entertainment Advertising Sales group, overseeing combined advertising sales for NBC Broadcast Entertainment, USA, Syfy and WWE.
Prior to joining NBCUniversal, Marshall held multiple advertising sales and sports positions at Turner Broadcasting between 1999 and 2013. His roles at Turner included senior vice president and national sales manager, Turner Sports vice president and national sales manager and Turner Sports advertising sales vice president for the West Coast region.
“It has been an absolute honor to be part of Comcast NBCUniversal and lead the most incredible team,” Yaccarino said in a statement on Friday. “We’ve transformed our company and the entire industry—and I am so proud of what we’ve accomplished together, and grateful to my colleagues and mentors, especially Brian Roberts, Mike Cavanagh and the entire NBCU leadership team.”
In a tweet on Friday, Elon Musk announced that Yaccarino would serve as Twitter’s official chief executive officer, focusing primarily on business operations, while the billionaire will transition to the role of executive chairman and chief technology officer, focusing on “product design and new technology.”
Yaccarino will start at the social media giant in about six weeks, Musk said.
“Looking forward to working with Linda to transform this platform into X, the everything app,” he added.