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Twitter taps NBC ad exec as new CEO

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Elon Musk has named Linda Yaccarino as Twitter CEO.

Elon Musk is ending his controversial reign as CEO of Twitter.

In a brief tweet from the official Elon Musk Twitter account dated May 12, 2023, Musk stated, “I am excited to welcome Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of Twitter! (She) will focus primarily on business operations, while I focus on product design and new technology. Looking forward to working with Linda to transform this platform into X, the everything app.”

Yaccarino, who holds a liberal arts degree from Penn State University, comes to Twitter from NBCUniversal Media LLC, where her close to 12-year tenure most recently included a more than two-and-a-half year stint as chairman of global advertising and partnerships. She previously spent 20 years at Turner, climbing to executive VP/COO of advertising sales, marketing and acquisitions before leaving to join NBCUniversal Media in November 2011.

“It has been an absolute honor to be part of Comcast NBCUniversal and lead the most incredible team, Yaccarino said in a statement released by NBCUniversal. “We’ve transformed our company and the entire industry—and I am so proud of what we’ve accomplished together, and grateful to my colleagues and mentors, especially Brian Roberts, Mike Cavanagh and the entire NBCU leadership team.”

Musk, who had been serving as interim CEO of Twitter since acquiring the social platform for $44 billion in October 2022, said in a tweet he will transition to being executive chair and CTO, with a focus on product, software and systems operations.

Since buying Twitter, Musk has received significant media attention for decisions such as laying off or firing more than 80% of its workforce, leaving the company with roughly 1,500 employees. He also made some changes to Twitter’s content policies which were criticized by some observers.

It is interesting that Musk selected a veteran top ad executive to take the reins as CEO, as CNN reported that more than half of Twitter’s top 1,000 advertisers had paused or entirely stopped advertising on the platform as of February 2023.

The road to ‘X’
In addition, in a Oct. 4, 2022 tweet posted on his verified Twitter account, Musk stated, “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app.” In a response to a post asking why he wouldn’t just build X from scratch, Musk tweeted, “Twitter probably accelerates X by 3 to 5 years, but I could be wrong.”

Musk again referenced the development of X in his announcement of Yaccarino’s appointment. While Musk has not publicly specified what exactly an “everything app” would do, media outlets have speculated he wants to turn Twitter into a “super app” such as the Chinese WeChat app, which provides functionality including mobile payment, messaging and social media from a single platform.

[Read more: Elon Musk is buying Twitter – what’s next for retailers?]

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