Elon Musk hires NBCUniversal's Linda Yaccarino to succeed him as Twitter CEO

Elon Musk hires NBCUniversal's Linda Yaccarino to succeed him as Twitter CEO

Elon Musk has confirmed that Linda Yaccarino, an NBCUniversal executive with deep ties to the advertising industry, will succeed him as Twitter CEO.

Musk earlier announced he had chosen a woman to run the social media platform in about six weeks, but did not immediately name her, sending rumours swirling.

On Friday, NBCUniversal said that Yaccarino would be stepping down from the company as chairwoman for global advertising and partnerships, and Musk confirmed she was her pick.

According to Yaccarino's LinkedIn, Yaccarino has worked at NBCUniversal for nearly 12 years, previously serving as chair for advertising and client partnerships and as president of cable entertainment and digital advertising sales. Prior to her time with NBC, Yaccarino worked at the global entertainment company Turner for almost two decades.

Yaccarino interviewed Musk on a Miami stage last month in front of hundreds of advertisers.

Luring advertisers is critical for Musk and Twitter after many fled in the early months after his takeover of the social media platform, fearing harm to their brands in the ensuing chaos. Musk said in late April that advertisers had returned, but provided no details.

NBCUniversal’s press release did not specify why Yaccarino was leaving the company on Friday, but her departure fueled speculation about her future role at Twitter.

Musk, who bought Twitter last October and has since been running it, has long insisted he is not its permanent CEO. The billionaire entrepreneur said on Thursday that his role would transition to being the company's executive chairman and chief technology officer.

Shares of Tesla rose about 2 per cent after he made the announcement. Shareholders of his electric car company have been concerned about how much of his attention is being spent on Twitter.

Musk's tenure at Twitter's helm has been chaotic, and he's made various promises and proclamations he's backtracked or never followed up on.

He began his first day firing the company's top executives, followed by roughly 80 per cent of its staff.

He has since upended the platform's verification system and has scaled back content moderation and safeguards against the spread of misinformation.

'No one wants the job'

Bantering with Twitter followers in December, Musk expressed pessimism about the prospects for a new CEO, saying that person “must like pain a lot” to run a company that “has been in the fast lane to bankruptcy”.

“No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor,” Musk said at the time.

Two days later, he tweeted: “I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job”. The pledge came after millions of Twitter users asked him to step down in a Twitter poll he created himself and promised to abide by.

In February, he told a conference he anticipated finding a CEO for San Francisco-based Twitter “probably toward the end of this year”.

Last November, he was questioned in court about how he splits his time between Tesla and his other companies, including SpaceX and Twitter. Musk replied he never intended to be CEO of Tesla, and that he didn’t want to be chief executive of any other companies either, preferring to see himself as an engineer.