May 29, 2023

Linda Yaccarino, head of advertising at NBCUniversal, was preparing to interview Twitter owner Elon Musk at a conference last month when she received an email from a peer in the advertising industry.

Rob Norman, a former executive at advertising giant WPP, wondered if Ms. Yaccarino had read the op-ed he wrote after Mr. Musk bought Twitter last year. Mr. Norman’s column discusses the tech billionaire’s amplifying of misinformation on Twitter and its chilling effect on advertisers.

Mr. Norman said Ms. Yacarino said she had and planned to raise such concerns. But the main focus of her conversation with Mr. Musk was something else: his effort to reinvent the social network as “Twitter 2.0.”

Now, Ms. Jacarino will be the face of Twitter 2.0. Mr. Musk said on Friday that he had chosen Ms. Jacarino, 60, to be the company’s chief executive.A few hours ago, NBCUniversal announced Ms Yaccarino is leavingEffective immediately.

“I am pleased to welcome Linda Yaccarino as Twitter’s new CEO,” Mr. Musk tweetsShe will be primarily responsible for business operations, while he will continue to work on product design and technology, he said.

In choosing Ms. Yaccarino, Mr. Musk indicated his priority at Twitter: its advertising business, not social media expertise. For decades, Ms. Iaccarino has been one of Madison Avenue’s power brokers. Twitter, which generates most of its revenue from advertising, has struggled to expand that business, especially after Mr. Musk spooked advertisers last year.

“Linda was a force,” said Joe Malches, a former ad sales executive at Fox Network Group who has known Ms. Yacarino for at least a decade. “Her job is one of the most important in advertising, and the advertising market is as tough as ever.”

Ms. Jacarino has more to do than grapple with Twitter’s ad woes, however. The San Francisco-based company has downsized significantly since Mr. Musk cut 75 percent of its workforce and grapples with expertise gaps and technical glitches. Twitter is also saddled with $13 billion in debt, which Musk took on to buy the company.

On top of that, Ms. Yaccarino will have to deal with a boss as volatile and unpredictable as Mr. Musk. The 51-year-old billionaire has a track record of firing executives who miss goals. He has sometimes released news about his various companies, which also includes electric car maker Tesla, without warning. As Twitter’s owner, Mr Musk wields absolute power in the company.

On Thursday, Musk tweeted that he had chosen a new Twitter chief, without naming her, and that he had upended Ms. Yacarino’s carefully laid plans. Ms. Yaccarino, who was in back-to-back rehearsals for NBC’s annual pitch to major advertisers when the tweet was published, did not inform her of many of her colleagues who were planning to leave, four people familiar with the matter said.

Lou Paskalis, a longtime advertising executive and friend of Ms. Yacarino’s, likened her move to Twitter to “stepping into a lion’s mouth.”

“Given her position in the industry as perhaps one of the most loved and trusted people in terms of revenue, I doubt why she would expose herself to this potential reputational risk,” he said.

Mr. Musk and Ms. Iaccarino probably think that Twitter 2.0 has many benefits. Mr Musk laid out ambitious plans for the company, telling employees it could one day be worth $250 billion and that the platform could become an “all-encompassing app” with features such as payments. (He recently said Twitter was worth $20 billion, down from the $44 billion he paid for it.)

Ms. Yaccarino has taken to Twitter to address her priorities. She is focused on repairing the company’s relationship with Madison Avenue and luring media companies back to the platform, possibly through partnership deals, according to a person who has spoken to her in recent days.

She and Musk appear to be aligned on political issues — such as a more relaxed approach to what’s said on Twitter — that are at the heart of his vision for the platform, two people familiar with her views said. She is a conservative, they say, and a critic of so-called disenchanted discourse, a term conservatives use to describe elements of left-wing social progressivism they see as nitpicking.

Former President Donald J. Trump twice appointed Ms. Yaccarino to a two-year term on the President’s Sports, Fitness and Nutrition Council, where she joined a panel of potential Republican politicians including celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz. ranks.

Ms Yaccarino did not respond to a request for comment as she grew up Working Class Italian Parents In Long Island, New York, including a father who was a police officer. She attended a Catholic school. After graduating from Penn State in 1985 with a degree in telecommunications, she spent nearly 20 years at Turner Entertainment, becoming COO of advertising sales, marketing and acquisitions before moving to NBCUniversal in 2011.

At Turner and NBCUniversal, Ms. Yaccarino — who is said to have negotiating skills like “velvet hammer” — rose to fame by helping traditional TV gain a foothold in the Facebook- and Google-era advertising landscape. Every year, she strides onto the stage at Radio City Music Hall for a pre-demo, a glitzy display the TV network uses to lure Maddy Johnson Avenue, convincing marketers to pay a hefty premium over social media fees to advertise on shows like “This Is Us” and “Saturday Night Live.”

But while Ms. Yaccarino has defended tech companies’ TV ad dollars for years and is a fierce critic of Facebook and YouTube, she has also struck up partnerships with apps like Snapchat and TikTok and digital outlets like BuzzFeed.

Outside of work, Ms. Yaccarino is actively involved in several initiatives, including the World Economic Forum Task Force on the Future of Work, which she leads. She is also the board chair of the nonprofit Ad Council, and helped the organization raise $60 million in the first three months of the pandemic to help with vaccine hesitancy, make personal calls, send notes and “use everything she can to help.” Things “have,” said Lisa Sherman, the council’s chief executive.

It was unclear when Ms. Yaccarino met Mr. Musk, but they publicly interacted last month at a media conference at the luxurious Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel in Florida. Ms. Yaccarino has previously expressed her admiration for Twitter, calling the platform the “single, number one” content distribution partner for NBCUniversal at An advertising industry event Shortly after Mr. Musk took over the company. At the time, she added, she wasn’t planning to “gamble against him” and believed he could “learn to advertise”.

“I think we can teach him,” she said.

Ms. Yaccarino was also present this week when Mr. Musk spoke at an advertising conference hosted by WPP in Napa Valley, California, three people familiar with the matter said.

Ms Yaccarino will be a rare female CEO in tech, as executives like Meta’s Sheryl Sandberg and YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki have departed recently.Throughout her career, Ms Yaccarino often said she was the only woman at the table and described bias incidentsuch as a male executive complaining about her aggression in an otherwise flattering performance review: “I just hope she stops using high heels as a weapon.”

While Ms. Yaccarino is active on Twitter, her habits are sedate compared with Mr. Musk’s, even though she has clicked on dozens of posts about him in recent weeks.

Still, the differences between Mr. Musk and Ms. Yacarino were evident at a media conference in Miami last month. The elegant Ms. Yaccarino brings prepared remarks. The unshaven Mr. Musk sparred with his toddler son X Æ A-12 for a while, then joined her, sometimes giving staccato answers to her questions.

Ms. Yaccarino has reiterated concerns expressed by her industry colleagues since Mr. Musk took control of Twitter, emphasizing repeatedly that the advertising executive’s audience is critical to the company’s financial success.

“I want to hear legitimate concerns from advertisers,” Mr. Musk said. He recounted a complaint he heard from Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who was frustrated he couldn’t be on HBO’s hit show A discussion about “White Lotus” is placed next to an ad for “White Lotus”. Twitter.

Mr. Musk said the issue has been resolved.

Ms Yaccarino replied: “So it’s a new beginning.”

John Koblin contributed reporting from New York.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *