As Twitter strives to stop a decline in ad revenue, Elon Musk has hired former NBCUniversal advertising head Linda Yaccarino as its new CEO.
Yaccarino, who spent several years overhauling the advertising business at NBCUniversal, a company owned by Comcast Corp., will take over a social media platform that is plagued with problems and a significant debt load.
I’m pleased to welcome Linda Yaccarino as Twitter’s new CEO. On Friday, Musk stated in a tweet. “While I concentrate on product design & new technology, @LindaYacc will primarily focus on business operations.”
Due to concerns that their advertisements would be displayed next to offensive content after the company lost roughly 80% of its personnel after Musk acquired Twitter in October, advertisers have abandoned the social media platform. Earlier this year, Musk acknowledged that Twitter’s ad revenue fell dramatically.
According to Lou Paskalis, a seasoned executive in the advertising sector and CEO of the marketing firm AJL Advisory, Twitter’s “trajectory will immediately take a 180-degree turn” under her direction.
“I believe (Yaccarino) has summited every mountain she could at NBCU and achieved it flawlessly, in my opinion. The problem of getting Twitter back in order is the biggest one, he added.
Although Musk claimed Yaccarino would assist in creating a “everything app,” which he has previously claimed could provide a range of services like peer-to-peer payments, his choice of an advertising veteran suggested that digital advertisements would still be the company’s primary area of concentration.
Musk fired tens of thousands of Twitter workers, hurried the release of a subscription service that let fraudsters pose as well-known firms, and suspended users he didn’t like, all of which scared off brands from investing in the site.
The billionaire has concentrated on Twitter Blue, a subscription feature that costs users $8 per month to authenticate their accounts, in an effort to diversify away from adverts, but the product has had little success.
As of April 30, according to Travis Brown, an independent researcher who has been studying the evolution of the Twitter Blue membership base.
It was impossible to contact Yaccarino for comment.
Her departure is a another setback for NBCUniversal. Following an inquiry into a complaint, NBC parent firm Comcast announced last month that NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell was resigning after admitting having an inappropriate interaction with a female employee.
The NBCUniversal advertising and partnerships group’s interim chairman will be Mark Marshall, president of advertising. Marshall, who is in charge of NBC’s broadcast entertainment, sports, and advanced advertising sales, was appointed president of ad sales and partnerships in 2018.
After spending 15 years at Turner Entertainment, Yaccarino joined NBCU in 2011. He is recognized with bringing the network’s ad sales division into the digital era.
She grabbed the stage at Radio City Music Hall last year to assure advertisers that brand messages weren’t an afterthought as broadcast television audiences switched to streaming. She claimed that from the start, NBCUniversal included advertisements in its Peacock streaming service.
According to Greg Kahn, CEO of media consultancy GK Digital Ventures, “Twitter needs credibility with the advertising community.” Linda has proven to be trustworthy, creative in bringing in new partners, and endowed with a wide network of contacts.
Musk, the CEO of electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), finalized the $44 billion acquisition of Twitter in October. On Friday, he claimed that by employing Yaccarino, he would be able to devote more time to managing Tesla.
Without naming Yaccarino, Musk tweeted on Thursday that he had chosen a CEO. According to a source close to Yaccarino, Musk’s post may have sped up the process for her to join Twitter, which would be good news for Tesla shareholders.
On Friday, Comcast shares fell 0.4% to $40.21 and Tesla shares fell 2.4% to $167.98.