June 3, 2023

Former NBCUniversal marketing guru Linda Yaccarino has been kinder to Elon Musk than most advertising executives — and as Twitter’s new CEO, it’s her job to convince colleagues across the industry to do business with him again.

Yaccarino, confirmed Friday as Twitter’s next boss, has recently emerged as a key ally of Musk — even as he traded barbs with major advertisers who felt he hadn’t done enough to combat hate speech following his messy takeover of the $44 billion company.

The burgeoning rapport between the two was on display on April 18, when Yaccarino called the billionaire her “buddy” while interviewing him on stage at the potential marketing conference in Miami Beach last month — and he insisted on his efforts to “take risks.” Reduce’. ”Twitter for advertising partners.

The well-connected Yaccarino had previously defended Musk at an Ad Age conference last November, urging advertisers to give him a chance before cutting business ties with Twitter.

At the time, she said she was “obsessed” and “fascinated” by Musk’s Twitter takeover.

Yaccarino’s diplomatic skills will be put to the test on Twitter, where she will be asked to lead a chaotic, complex review of the embattled company’s affairs.

The effort will no doubt include a major campaign to mend Twitter’s relationships with wary advertisers who fled the platform after Musk’s $44 billion takeover.

“She has had extraordinary relationships with the agency community and directly with brands.

This bodes well for what she will bring to Twitter,” MediaInk Chairman and CEO Michael Kassin, who has known and worked with her for nearly two decades, told The Post.

Elon Musk
Linda Yaccarino appeared with Musk at an advertising conference in Miami last month.

Indeed, on the day of his April 18 interview with Yaccarino in Miami, Musk attended a lengthy private dinner with a group of elite advertising and marketing executives at the Faena Hotel’s La Cava private wine cellar.

At the meeting, Musk dismissed claims that hate speech on Twitter had increased under his watch as “fake,” The Post reported at the time.

The dinner was occasionally heated, with one attendee saying some executives were “appalled” and “appalled” by Musk’s “contempt” for hate speech and felt their concerns dismissed.

However, the sources said the meeting ended up being a productive move.

Yaccarino’s appointment as Twitter’s next CEO came hours after she stepped down as NBCU’s advertising chief. A day earlier, Musk tweeted that he had already hired Twitter’s next CEO, who would take over the role in “six weeks”.

Hiring Yaccarino will give Musk-owned Twitter a “very decisive, very strong leader who is focused,” Kassin said.

Linda Yaccarino
Linda Yaccarino resigned from NBCU this morning.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Yaccarino is a “great team leader” who is loved in media circles,” he added.

Musk said Yaccarino will “focus primarily on business operations, while I will focus on product design and new technology.”

He added that Yaccarino will help “transform this platform into X, the everything app.”

Yaccarino has extensive experience in the digital advertising world and played a key role in the launch of NBCUniversal’s ad-supported streaming service, Peacock.

Her company bio notes that her team has “generated over $100 billion in ad sales” since she joined the company in 2011.

“I think she will learn to live from the tweet,” Kassin added. “She has publicly revealed that she has been in a relationship with [Musk]. She has shown an alliance.’

Yaccarino’s departure marked another setback for NBCUniversal, which was forced to abruptly fire its former longtime CEO, Jeff Shell, after dealing with a sexual harassment complaint from former CNBC international anchor Hadley Gamble.

Linda Yaccarino
Yaccarino also collaborates with the World Economic Forum.

Yaccarino’s departure was not related to the recent C-suite shakeup at NBCUniversal following Shell’s firing, the source close to the situation told The Post.

In addition, Yaccarino left the company when rumors circulated that the media giant was looking to divest Peacock as part of a possible combination with another streamer, such as WarnerBros.

Discovery’s Discovery-HBO Max or Paramount+ combined streaming service.

Even if such a collaboration did happen, the source close to the situation told The Post that Yaccarino and her team would not risk being let loose at NBCUniversal in the potential turmoil.

Yaccarino’s jump to Twitter was an “opportunistic move,” the source said.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that would take her out of the realm of ad sales — even if she’s more than that,” the source added.

Linda Yaccarino
Linda Yaccarino will likely be asked to smoothen relations with advertisers.
Alex Martinez/NBC Universal

A graduate of Penn State University, Yaccarino has held several advertising-focused positions at NBCUniversal over the past decade.

Prior to joining the media giant, she worked as an executive at Turner, whose assets are now owned by WarnerBros. Discovery.

In addition to her media work, Yaccarino is employed by the World Economic Forum, where she chairs the international organization’s Taskforce on the Future of Work.

Yaccarino also had a previous stint as president of the non-profit Ad Council. In 2018, she was appointed to former President Donald Trump’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition.