Elon Musk is welcoming a veteran ad executive to the helm of Twitter, the social media site the billionaire Tesla CEO had been running since he bought it last fall.
Musk announced Friday that he’s hiring Linda Yaccarino to be the new CEO of San Francisco-based Twitter, which is now called X Corp. He said Yaccarino’s role will be focused mainly on running the company’s business operations, leaving him to focus on product design and new technology.
Here’s what to know about Yaccarino.
VETERAN AD EXEC
Yaccarino, 60, has worked as an advertising executive for decades. She came to NBCUniversal in 2011, just as Comcast was completing its merger with NBC, and oversaw integrating the companies’ ad sales platforms. There, her most recent title was chairman, advertising and client partnerships. She oversaw all market strategy and advertising revenue, which totaled nearly $10 billion, for NBCUniversal’s entire portfolio of broadcast, cable and digital assets.
Before that, she held a variety of roles at Turner Broadcasting System Inc. from 1996 to 2011, including executive vice president and chief operating officer. That was after she held management positions at several media sales outlets.
“She’s a marketer’s leader,” said Mark DiMassimo, founder and creative chief of ad agency DiGo.
“She speaks CMO and she understands what marketers need,” he added, referring to the role of chief marketing officer.
Yaccarino has pushed the ad industry for change on several fronts, including advocating for relying less heavily on Nielsen ratings for measurement, and introducing a digital platform called One Platform that makes it easier to buy ads across a variety of different media in an effort to better compete for ads against social media companies and traditional media companies.
“It’s worth noting that they built out a big team that’s made a lot of innovative products and supported the growth that they’ve experienced,” said Brian Wieser of strategic advisory firm Madison and Wall. “They’ve been pushing the industry on a lot of fronts, you know, trying to make it better.”
“I think that first and foremost, she’ll bring to Twitter an understanding of what advertisers need to see to get back on the platform from the brand safety perspective,” said Dave Campanelli, chief investment officer of media buying firm Horizon Media. “She knows better than anyone what it’s going to take and I think for advertisers and buyers, the question really is, is she going to have free rein to do all that or is it going to be just the same old, same old (with Musk).”
Yaccarino serves as chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Taskforce on the Future of Work. A 1985 graduate of Pennsylvania State University, she lives in Sea Cliff, New York, with her husband, Claude Madrazo. They have two children, Christian and Matthew.