Elon Musk made it official on Friday—he has found his replacement as CEO of Twitter.
Musk announced in a tweet that Linda Yaccarino will take over business operations for the social media site within the next six weeks. Meanwhile, Musk will continue to oversee product design and software development for Twitter, as the Tesla founder is planning to transition the brand into an “everything app” called X.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Yaccarino, the former chairman of global advertising and partnerships for NBCUniversal, was in talks to join Twitter hours after Musk said he had hired a woman for the position. NBCUniversal announced Friday morning that Yaccarino had stepped down from her position “effective immediately.”
So who is Yaccarino, and what does her hiring mean for Twitter going forward? Here’s a look at what you need to know about the successful media executive and her new role.
Linda Yaccarino’s Education and Career
Linda Yaccarino’s birth date hasn’t been publicly revealed, but she is believed to be around 60 years old. She is a 1985 graduate of Penn State University. According to her alumni profile, Yaccarino has maintained her involvement with the school by serving as a commencement speaker, addressing the Penn State Forum, and mentoring alumni.
CNN reported that Yaccarino first worked at NBCUniversal as a college intern before returning to the company in 2011. According to her company profile, which was removed by Friday afternoon, she oversaw a team of 2,000 workers in her role as head of advertising and helped NBCUniversal generate $100 billion in ad sales. She created partnerships with a variety of media companies, including YouTube, Buzzfeed, Snapchat, and Twitter.
Yaccarino created unified ad sales teams for NBCUniversal and, according to WSJ, was integral in the launch of its ad-supported streaming service Peacock in 2020. “It has been an absolute honor to be part of Comcast NBCUniversal and lead the most incredible team. We’ve transformed our company and the entire industry—and I am so proud of what we’ve accomplished together,” Yaccarino said in a statement.
Prior to joining the company, Yaccarino also worked at Turner Broadcasting for almost two decades and served as the executive vice president and COO of advertising sales.
She also has recent connections to Musk and Twitter. Last month, she held a stage discussion with the 51-year-old billionaire at a marketing event in Miami about the site’s future. And on May 5, NBCUniversal announced an expanded partnership with Twitter for its 2024 Olympics and Paralympics coverage, including a daily live show on the site and a 25-day countdown series featuring star athletes.
There are questions about Yaccarino’s political leanings. In 2018, then President Donald Trump appointed her to his Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition. However, she also worked with current President Joe Biden’s administration as Ad Council chair in 2021 to create a coronavirus vaccination campaign.
What Linda Yaccarino's Hiring Means for Elon Musk and Twitter
Adding Yaccarino and her advertising expertise could be crucial for increasing Twitter’s revenue.
In the months following Musk’s purchase of the site for $44 billion in October 2022, major brands like Coca-Cola, Merck, Jeep, and Wells Fargo all pulled their ad dollars from the site. According to CNN, revenue from the site’s top 1,000 advertisers had dropped about 60 percent by January 25.
Some companies were concerned by several of Musk’s initial steps as CEO, such as laying off thousands of staff and scaling back content moderation efforts. The latter has made it easier for hate speech and misinformation to spread on the site.
The New York Times reported in late March that, as a result, Musk valued the company at only $20 billion—less than half of what he paid for it.
In December 2022, Musk posted a poll to his personal account asking users if they would like him to step down as head of Twitter. More than 57 percent percent of the roughly 17 million respondents voted yes.
Shares of Tesla rose by 3 percent immediately following Friday’s announcement, according to CNN, though much of that gain was lost by the afternoon. Musk’s electric car company’s value could also benefit, as investors have worried that his involvement with Twitter was a growing distraction.
Tyler Piccotti joined the Biography.com staff in 2023, and before that had worked almost eight years as a newspaper reporter and copy editor. He is a graduate of Syracuse University, an avid sports fan, a frequent moviegoer, and trivia buff.