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Linda Yaccarino to replace Elon Musk as Twitter CEO. Here's who she is.

Linda Yaccarino named new Twitter CEO
Linda Yaccarino named new Twitter CEO 00:24

Elon Musk has tapped Linda Yaccarino, until this week the head of advertising at NBCUniversal, to replace him as CEO of Twitter, he announced in a tweet Friday. 

"@LindaYacc will focus primarily on business operations, while I focus on product design & new technology," the tweet read, in part. 

Yaccarino made her first public comments about her new role over the weekend. On Twitter, she responded to Musk's announcement, saying, "I've long been inspired by your vision to create a brighter future. I'm excited to help bring this vision to Twitter and transform this business together!"

She also noted that she'd acquired new followers. She now has nearly 400,000 followers on the platform. 

Musk's initial announcement of a successor came after the billionaire on Thursday tweeted that he had found someone new to lead the social media platform, adding that "she will be starting in ~6 weeks!" Musk, who completed a deal to buy Twitter last fall for $44 billion, will transition to executive chairman and chief technology officer of Twitter. 

NBCUniversal also announced Yaccarino's departure from the company, effective immediately, on Friday.

"We are grateful for Linda Yaccarino's leadership of NBCUniversal's Advertising Sales business, and for the innovative team and platform she has built," Comcast president Mike Cavanagh said in a statement. "Linda has made countless contributions to the company during her twelve year tenure, and we wish her the best."

"It has been an absolute honor to be part of Comcast NBCUniversal and lead the most incredible team. We've transformed our company and the entire industry—and I am so proud of what we've accomplished together, and grateful to my colleagues and mentors, especially Brian Roberts, Mike Cavanagh and the entire NBCU leadership team," Yaccarino said.

What is her background?

Yaccarino, a graduate of Penn State University, served as the chair of global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, acting as "the strategic and operational bridge across the entirety of NBCUniversal's global networks, properties, and business units," according to her profile on LinkedIn. Her role involved monetizing the company's networks, digital and streaming platforms, distribution and commerce partnerships, and client relationships. That included overseeing all of its global, national and local ad sales. 

Linda Yaccarino
Linda Yaccarino speaks at the Variety Entertainment Summit at CES, in Las Vegas, Jan. 8, 2020. Isaac Brekken/Variety/Penske Media via Getty Images

She managed a 2,000-member team that, since she joined NBCU in 2011, has generated more than $100 billion in ad sales. She also helped launch the company's ad-supported streaming service, Peacock. 

Her LinkedIn profile also indicates that she "made massive investments in data and technology capabilities."

On the interpersonal front, she self-describes as a "sought-after connector, collaborator, and counselor," as well as "a committed change agent and consummate unifier" within her industry. 

As chair of the Ad Council, a nonprofit that promotes public service announcements, she garnered support from various entities, including the White House, to design a vaccination campaign featuring Pope Francis that reached more than 200 million Americans.

Before joining NBC, Yaccarino spent nearly two decades at global entertainment company Turner.

Is she the right person to lead Twitter?

Yaccarino last month interviewed Musk at a marketing conference in Miami. "In many ways, today is your introduction to the advertising community," Yaccarino said after she welcomed him on stage. 

"I pride myself on my work ethic. But buddy, I met my match," she told the CEO of Space X, Tesla and Twitter. She then went on to talk about "the challenge of the delicate balance of a rebrand" of a widely known and widely used product like Twitter.

One Wall Street analyst said Yaccarino would be a "homerun hire" for Twitter given her vast experience overseeing billions in ad revenue annually. 

She would "fit in very well to the overall Twitter strategy and monetization looking ahead," said Wedbush technology analyst Dan Ives. 

Her experience launching new revenue streams for NBCU, including Peacock, and deep knowledge of how to monetize products and services makes her an excellent choice to helm Twitter, Ives added. 

It's key that Twitter overhaul its digital advertising strategy while also monetizing its user base after major advertisers jumped ship since Elon Musk took over.

"There is heavy lifting ahead for Twitter on the digital advertising front as the platform now needs to get back advertisers while monetizing its user base," Ives said. "Twitter needs a CEO that can hit the ground running and try to turnaround the Twitter platform with a key 6 to 12 months ahead."

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