Elon Musk has appointed Linda Yaccarino, the former advertising chief of NBCUniversal, as the new CEO of Twitter. The decision comes as Twitter faces declining ad revenue and seeks to overcome various challenges and a heavy debt load. Musk has clarified that Yaccarino will primarily focus on business operations while he concentrates on product design and new technology.
Since Musk’s acquisition of Twitter in October, advertisers have been leaving the platform due to concerns about their ads appearing alongside inappropriate content. This has resulted in a significant decline in ad revenue, necessitating a turnaround for the company. Industry executives anticipate that Yaccarino’s appointment will bring about a positive change in Twitter’s trajectory.
Musk envisions transforming Twitter into an “everything app” that offers a range of services, including peer-to-peer payments. However, Yaccarino’s background in advertising suggests that digital ads will continue to be a core focus for the company.
Musk’s actions since acquiring Twitter have been controversial, including laying off thousands of employees, launching a subscription product that allowed scammers to impersonate major brands, and suspending users he disagreed with. These actions have made brands cautious about advertising on the platform.
To diversify away from ads, Musk has emphasized the Twitter Blue subscription feature, which allows users to verify their accounts for a monthly fee of $8. However, the product has had limited success, with an estimated 619,858 subscribers as of April 30.
Yaccarino’s departure from NBCUniversal comes at a challenging time for the company as it prepares for its annual presentation to advertisers. Mark Marshall, the President of Advertising at NBCUniversal, will serve as interim chairman of the advertising and partnerships group.
Musk’s acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion positioned him as the CEO, with a commitment to step aside once a suitable replacement was found. While Musk’s tweet on Thursday announcing the new CEO did not explicitly mention Yaccarino, it likely accelerated her joining Twitter and provided some relief to Tesla shareholders. Following the announcement, Tesla’s stock price declined by 2.5%, while Comcast shares dipped by 0.5%.