Elon Musk named NBCUniversal chairman Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of Twitter. He says he will move to a position as Twitter’s CTO and executive chairman. He will oversee product, software, and sysops.
Yaccarino previously oversaw global advertising and partnerships for NBCUniversal. Her achievements include consolidating NBCUniversal’s advertising sales teams into a single department. It had previously had 15 sales teams, some of whose work had overlapped.
Like much of the media industry, NBCUniversal’s advertising revenue has been down lately. This decline in revenue forced NBCUniversal to make cuts in its workforce.
Her experience may help Twitter get its advertising revenue back on track. Some major corporations had dropped their advertising on Twitter after Musk took it private. Elon Musk has indicated interest in moving Twitter away from relying on advertising, including adding a subscription model for Twitter’s “Blue Tick Mark” and allowing users to set up subscriptions. These features have seen very limited success so far.
She will also face challenges such as a growing number of serious competitors that include Mastodon and Nostr. Several of these competitors have seen an upswing in users since Elon Musk acquired Twitter.
Musk had previously asked his followers if he should step down as Twitter’s CEO in a poll. 57.5% of respondents voted “Yes.”
Once the poll closed, he promised to step down once he found someone “foolish enough” to take on what is likely to be a challenging position at this point. Several high-profile individuals closed their account.
Others got banned from Twitter for allegedly impersonating Elon Musk. Social media impersonators had previously been a major problem due to the prevalence of scams. A few scammers even got caught after having hacked into major accounts like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Barack Obama. Although some thought that Elon Musk just couldn’t take a joke, an equally likely explanation is that Musk still resents the fraudulent accounts — and getting his Twitter account hacked. (Seriously, folks, people losing money in scams is not funny.)
Like many Big Tech companies, Twitter went through rounds of layoffs. According to Musk, it is down to 1,500 employees, not that the layoffs were without drama. A federal judge already dismissed a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging that Musk targeted female employees during the layoffs. A different judge for the same court dismissed a similar lawsuit alleging that Twitter discriminated against workers with disabilities with its new requirement that employees return to the office. However, the plaintiffs have not ruled out the possibility of refiling the lawsuits with additional facts.
A bill introduced in the California state legislature will add additional protections for employees facing layoffs if it passes. The protections include limiting employers’ ability to force employees to sign waivers to receive their severance packages.
As the executive chairman and CTO, Elon Musk will still have a large role in the future of Twitter. It’s even likely that he will continue to pursue the “X App,” which he says could combine a lot of the services provided by today’s popular apps into a single app with Twitter at its core. Longtime Musk followers may see as swinging back to his days of spinning up the early online banking site that eventually merged with PayPal. He is stepping away from his role as CEO now that he has tapped Linda Yaccarino for the role.