Elon Musk's pick for Twitter CEO may be the win he needs

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Elon Musk's pick for Twitter CEO may be the win he needs
Elon Musk pick of Linda Yaccarino as Twitter CEO may be his best move yet.Getty Images
  • Elon Musk announced today that Linda Yaccarino would be the next Twitter CEO.
  • The move may be his best yet, as the former NBCU exec is well respected in the advertising world.
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Elon musk needs a win.

Over the past six months, Tesla's stock has dropped 10%, one of his beloved rockets exploded into a fireball, and pundits agree the richest man on the planet has made quite a mess of Twitter.

As one investor put it: "He might be entering the end game."

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But things may be looking up for Musk. His pick for his successor as CEO of Twitter could be one of his best moves yet.

Linda Yaccarino, who, until today, headed up global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, was just announced as the CEO of Twitter — and she may be what Musk's platform needs in order to win back advertisers, publishers, and tech insiders, alike.

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"I only partially respect many of Elon's decisions since he bought Twitter. However, the decision to hire Linda is his best yet," Jonathan Mildenhall, former CMO of Airbnb and current chairman of marketing agency TwentyFirstCenturyBrand, told Insider. "I'm hopeful that Twitter will regain a sense of normalcy and purpose after reading this news."

"Bringing in Linda Yaccarino as CEO of Twitter will be welcome news for the advertising community," Aaron Goldman, CMO of the advertising software company Mediaocean, said. "Top on the priority list for advertisers is ensuring brand safety in light of Musk's more relaxed approach to content moderation"

"Twitter needs ad revenue and who better to drive ads than" Yaccarino, Rich Greenfield, longtime media analyst and partner at LightShed Ventures, tweeted.

Yaccarino, who managed a $13 billion ad business for NBCU, is well respected in the advertising world: She managed to bring the nearly century-old brand into the digital era with a data-driven approach, making it a competitor to the likes of Google and Meta. The ad sales team generated more than $100 billion in ad revenue during her 12-year tenure, according to the company.

Plus, as a key proponent of NBCU's move into streaming, she's got experience at selling video ads, which could come in handy in advance of Tucker Carlson's show taking to Twitter.

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That advertising revenue is just what Musk needs right now.

When the Tesla boss took over last year, advertisers fled Twitter. Revenue fell 40% in December 2022 versus the same month in 2021 as half of the platform's top 100 advertisers ditched it.

That's not good for the company — especially considering the fact that Musk's takeover was funded in part by a $13 million debt package and his scheme to up revenue by getting users to pay for blue checks isn't exactly going well.

He's hoping that Yaccarino's good relationships and experience will be enough to get the cash flowing.

But it's not blue skies for Musk quite yet.

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As Lou Paskalis, marketing veteran and chief strategy officer at Ad Fontes Media, said: "Recruiting Linda to the CEO role is the smartest move he can make, but she is also the last card he has to play."

Not many people want to work with Musk, as his former tech pals turn against him and his propensity for firing even the most loyal employees becomes more apparent.

Yaccarino may have been one of his only feasible options. The avid Tweeter has been supportive of Musk throughout his Twitter takeover and backed Musk's push for the deregulation of Twitter — or what he refers to as freedom of speech.

"Not surprising he hired her. They seem to have simpatico views — that's well known at NBCU," one source at NBCU, who asked to remain anonymous so that they could speak freely about the company and its leadership, said.

Cozying up to Musk may have helped her land the gig, but her toughest job may be reining him in.

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After all — even the announcement of her coming on board produced total chaos.

Musk and Yaccarino did not immediately reply to Insider's requests for comment.

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