May 19, 2024

Elon Musk and Linda Yaccarino in Advanced Talks for Twitter CEO Role

Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising and Partnerships, NBCUniversal, USA speaking in the Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment and Culture at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 21 January. Congress Centre - Salon. Copyright by World Economic Forum / Manuel Lopez
Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising and Partnerships, NBCUniversal, USA speaking in the Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment and Culture at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 21 January. Congress Centre - Salon. Copyright by World Economic Forum / Manuel Lopez

Elon Musk and Linda Yaccarino, Chair of Global Advertising and Partnerships at NBCUniversal, are currently engaged in advanced discussions regarding the potential appointment of Yaccarino as the Chief Executive Officer of Twitter, The New York Times reported on Thursday, citing two knowledgeable sources who said that Yaccarino and Musk have been in ongoing conversations for several weeks, with their collaboration becoming evident during Yaccarino’s interview with Musk at an advertising event in Miami last month.

After facing criticism for his decisions at Twitter, Elon Musk floated the concept of appointing a CEO for the company back in December. To gather public opinion, he conducted a Twitter poll asking if he should step down as the head of the company, vowing to respect the outcome

The Times noted that even if a new CEO is appointed, Musk will retain a strong hold on Twitter as its owner, adding that since acquiring the platform for $44 billion last year, Musk has implemented significant changes, including a substantial reduction in the workforce by over 75% and the introduction of new leadership and strategic shifts. Additionally, Musk has taken Twitter private, relieving him of the obligation to disclose corporate information to the public.

The incoming CEO will face numerous challenges at Twitter, including a declining advertising business, which has traditionally served as the platform’s primary revenue source, and annual debt payments of around $1.5 billion resulting from Musk’s acquisition. In a March investor conference, Musk revealed a 50% decline in ad revenue and the potential for Twitter to face bankruptcy shortly after the purchase.

Twitter’s advertising woes can be attributed in part to a broader economic downturn and uncertainty. However, advertisers were also unsettled by Musk’s relaxed approach to content moderation on the platform. Brands generally prefer not to have their ads associated with toxic or inappropriate content, leading IPG, one of the world’s largest advertising companies, to advise its clients to temporarily pause their spending on Twitter due to moderation concerns.

In a recent interview with the BBC, Musk mentioned that most of Twitter’s advertisers had returned, indicating a potential recovery in that aspect.

If appointed, Yaccarino would bring extensive experience and profound connections within the advertising industry to Twitter. Her illustrious career at NBCUniversal has allowed her to forge personal relationships with numerous CEOs of advertising holding companies, a critical group for Twitter. Yaccarino’s contributions to the advertising world include overseeing significant marketing partnerships, playing a key role in NBC Universal’s streaming initiatives, challenging outdated industry practices, and driving over $100 billion in advertising sales. She is also a prominent figure at prestigious advertising events such as the Cannes Lions festival.

These discussions regarding the Twitter CEO position come at a crucial time for Yaccarino, as she is scheduled to address NBCUniversal’s major clients next week during the upfronts, an annual pitch aimed at attracting advertisers.

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