Who is Linda Yaccarino? The new Twitter CEO with deep ties to the advertising industry | Science and technology news


In a few weeks, Elon Musk will hand over the reins of Twitter to Linda Yaccarino. But who exactly is the new CEO and how does she fit into Musk’s vision of the “everything app”?

Musk who brought Twitter in October and has headed it ever since, has long insisted that he step down as top executive of what is now X Corp.

On Friday, he tweeted to his 139 million followers, saying he was “excited” to welcome Ms Yaccarino, 60, to the role, adding that he “looks forward to working with Linda to bring this platform to X , the all-app.

Musk said Ms. Yaccarino’s primary focus will be on business operations, while staying closely involved with product design and new technologies.

Given Ms. Yaccarino’s background in advertising, Musk hopes Twitter can lure back advertisers who initially fled the platform after Musk’s acquisition, fearing damage to their brand.

“A Marketer’s Leader”

A graduate of Pennsylvania State University in the US, Ms. Yaccarino built her advertising career after initially holding various positions at Turner Broadcasting System Inc. – a global broadcasting company now owned by Warner Bros.

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From 1996 to 2011, she worked her way up in media distribution companies, holding positions of both Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, before joining NBCUniversal – one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies.

Linda Yaccarino at Turner Entertainment in 2008. Image: AP

She oversaw the merger between NBC and Comcast – the creation of NBCUniversal – and as the company’s chair, managed market strategy and advertising revenue – which totaled almost $10 billion (£8 billion) across the company’s entire portfolio of broadcast, cable and cable and Digital totaled assets.

Shortly before the announcement of the Twitter takeoverNBCUniversal said the mother-of-two will be stepping down from her current role as chair of global advertising and partnerships, which she has held for just over two years.

Mark DiMassimo, founder and creative director of advertising agency DiGo, described her as “a leader in marketing,” adding, “She understands what marketers need.”

Linda Yaccarino
Linda Yaccarino (center) worked for NBCUniversal for 12 years. Image: AP

During her 12 years at NBCUniversal, her team generated more than $100 billion (£80 billion) in advertising sales, according to the company.

Bring about changes in the advertising industry

Throughout her career, Ms. Yaccarino has transformed the way the advertising industry works.

One of the most notable was the launch of a digital platform called One Platform, which facilitates the buying of ads across different media.

“I think it will first and foremost give Twitter an understanding of what advertisers need to see to get back on the platform from a brand safety perspective,” said Dave Campanelli, chief investment officer at media buying firm Horizon Media.

Linda Yaccarino
Image: AP

He said Ms Yaccarino knows “better than anyone” what it takes to bring advertisers and buyers back to the company.

“The question really is, does she have a free hand to do all of this, or is it going to stay the same (with Musk),” Campanelli said.

Twitter CEO Elon Musk, center, speaks with Linda Yaccarino, NBC chair of global advertising and partnerships, at the POSSIBLE marketing conference on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, in Miami Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Elon Musk spoke to Linda Yaccarino at a marketing conference back in April. Image: AP

Musk has consistently taken controversy lightly since taking to Twitter, but Tesla investors are increasingly concerned that he’s been spending too much time transforming the platform.

Political commitment

Some critics have questioned Ms Yaccarino’s political leanings as she previously worked closely with the Donald Trump and Joe Biden administrations.

In 2018, Trump appointed Ms. Yaccarino to serve on his Council on Sports Fitness and Nutrition for two years.

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She then worked with Mr. Biden and the White House as chair of the Ad Council in 2021 and 2022 to launch a coronavirus vaccination campaign that reached over 200 million Americans.

Ms. Yaccarino is also Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Future of Work Task Force – a wordy job title that ultimately means helping public and private sector decision-makers train workers in low-carbon and high-tech economies.

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