Elon Musk has officially announced that former NBCUniversal advertising executive Linda Yaccarino will replace him as CEO of Twitter, according to a post on the social media site.
“@LindaYacc will focus primarily on business operations, while I focus on product design & new technology,” Musk wrote in a tweet Friday. “Looking forward to working with Linda to transform this platform into X, the everything app.”
I am excited to welcome Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of Twitter!@LindaYacc will focus primarily on business operations, while I focus on product design & new technology.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 12, 2023
Looking forward to working with Linda to transform this platform into X, the everything app. https://t.co/TiSJtTWuky
Rumors that Yaccarino was Musk’s chosen successor had been swirling since he announced yesterday that he would be stepping down as CEO. Journalist and Musk watcher Kara Swisher predicted Yaccarino as a likely Twitter CEO, describing her on Thursday as “early to tech focus for a media exec, which was unusual at the time and she was constantly trying to grok it, despite wariness.”
Yaccarino most recently led the global advertising and partnerships division at NBCUniversal, managing a staff of around 2,000 employees, and has been part of the media giant for over a decade. She was also reportedly among the candidates being considered to lead Univision and Paramount Global.
She has posted about 1,200 tweets on her own Twitter timeline, a notable difference from Musk’s tendency to tweet constantly and at all hours. And her Twitter profile describes her as “inspired by provocative leadership,” something that has certainly been a hallmark of Musk’s reign at Twitter.
Since taking over, Musk has overseen a confusing and unpopular revamp of the platform’s blue check marks, taking them away from previously verified users and selling them to anyone willing to pay a few dollars. And he has laid off huge numbers of staff, while many others have left of their own volition. Musk said he had cut around 80% of staff, and that there were less than 1,000 employees left at Twitter, in an interview with the BBC last month.
The choice of Yaccarino, with her background in advertising, is particularly significant in terms of the number of advertisers that Twitter has lost since Musk took over. The company’s ad sales have plunged since Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion in October. Between February and March of 2023, the top 10 advertisers of Twitter spent 89% less than they did compared to last September and October, according to data firm SensorTower cited by Bloomberg. Its revenue from advertising is estimated to be $2.98 billion in 2023 down 28% from the previous year, according to research firm Insider Intelligence, Reuters reported in April.
Clips from a video of Yaccarino interviewing Musk at an NBC event about the future of marketing earlier this year started making the rounds on social media yesterday, after Musk announced that he had chosen a successor. In it, she complimented Musk on his vision for Twitter, and urged him to refrain from posting anything “after 3 a.m.” Musk responded that he would try, but that he could not be influenced.
As Yaccarino takes the reins at Twitter, experts have raised concerns over how much authority she will truly have at the social media company while working alongside the Tesla and SpaceX chief.
“She might tactically be called CEO because Musk promised to step down after losing a Twitter vote, but in reality, she will only ever be the Twitter COO for Musk; at worse, Musk’s executive PA,” Richard Hillgrove, founder of public relations firm 6Hillgrove PR, told Fortune.
This is a developing story and will be updated.