The next CEO of Twitter, replacing Elon Musk, could be this NBC ad executive—or one of these other high-powered woman execs

NBC's Linda Yaccarino is considered a top possibility.
Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

The next CEO of Twitter could be NBC Universal chairman of global advertising and partnerships Linda Yaccarino, according to multiple media reports on Thursday.

Elon Musk dropped the news on Thursday that in six weeks he’ll be CEO of one less company, and will transition to executive chair and CTO of Twitter. Musk said he has hired a new CEO for Twitter, and suggested that the new boss will be a woman, referring to his successor as “she.”

But Musk being Musk, he didn’t say who the new CEO will be, setting off a frenzy of speculation.

Dylan Byers, of Puck News, tweeted that two sources had confirmed that Yaccarino was the new Twitter CEO, while the Wall Street Journal‘s sources said Yaccarino was “in talks” with Musk about the gig.

Longtime tech journalist Kara Swisher was first to publicly suggest Yaccarino would fit the bill, describing her in a tweet as being an “ad powerhouse and well liked.” The sentiment was echoed by a tech CEO who told Fortune “she is amazing.”

Meanwhile, a barrage of other names were being bandied about.

Former YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and ex-Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg were quickly mentioned as potential candidates by many online prognosticators, though the two accomplished tech executives can probably be crossed off the list. Besides the fact that their politics and values seem completely incompatible with Musk’s, there’s little reason to think either of them would want to throw themselves into the chaos that is Twitter 2.0.

Tech analyst Dan Ives believes someone with a Google or Facebook background would be the best pick, “as a social-media-driven CEO is key to running the Twitter platform.”

Whoever it is will have her work cut out for her. Twitter has cut its staff to the bone, from roughly 8,000 employees to less than 1,000 since Musk took over last year, and the platform has seen multiple widespread technical glitches. Ad revenue has plummeted as many brands recoiled from the controversial content that Musk now allows on the platform.

Another important qualification, as one industry insider told Fortune, is “someone who can deal with crazy men.”

Below are a few educated guesses—and some random speculation—of the potential candidates to take the reins from Musk and become the next Chief Twit:

Linda Yaccarino

The chairman of global advertising and partnerships at NBC Universal has served at the media company for more than a decade, picking up experience in e-commerce and operations management. 

It wouldn’t be the first time Yaccarino’s name has come up for a CEO role. Variety reported that her name has been kicked around to lead Univision and Paramount Global. And with spending from the top 10 advertisers on Twitter having taken a sharp plunge, Twitter could use the help with ad sales.

Ella Irwin

If Twitter goes with an internal hire, it could be the company’s VP of trust and safety. Irwin joined the company in June 2022 and quickly rose to become one of Musk’s most loyal lieutenants after he acquired the company for $44 billion in November.

A fierce supporter of Musk, Irwin frequently serves as his mouthpiece and his heavy. She has reportedly assisted with changes to user account policy such as removing misinformation policies and temporarily suspending journalists who cover Musk and Twitter.

Shivon Zilis

The A.I. expert has twin children with Musk and has made a career at some of the same companies as he. In 2016, she joined OpenAI, where Musk used to be on the board of directors. She’s also worked as a project director at Tesla on the Autopilot and chip design teams, and eventually made her way to Neuralink, where she was director of operations and special projects. 

Her time has gotten freed up more in the past couple of months after she stepped down from the board of OpenAI in March, the timing of which came shortly after Musk criticized the company for having a liberal bias, the Information reported. It’s an indication that Zilis might be aligned with Musk’s vision for the content allowed on Twitter, as it has seen a rise in misinformation and hate speech since his takeover.

Subscribe to Well Adjusted, our newsletter full of simple strategies to work smarter and live better, from the Fortune Well team. Sign up today.

Read More

Artificial IntelligenceCryptocurrencyMetaverseCybersecurityTech Forward