Two people familiar with the matter said Elon Musk is in talks to appoint Linda Iaccarino, NBCUniversal’s head of global advertising and partnerships, as CEO of Twitter.
The people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks were at an advanced stage, said the talks were confidential. They said Ms. Iaccarino has been in discussions with Mr. Musk for weeks. Last month, Mrs. Iaccarino interviewed Mr. Musk onstage at an advertising event in Miami.
It was Mr. Musk He said Earlier on Thursday, he announced that he had chosen a CEO for Twitter, but did not name the CEO. In a tweet, he said “It’s starting in ~6 weeks!” He added that he would remain involved as CEO and “CTO,” which usually refers to chief technology officer, and that he would still oversee Twitter’s product and software.
Mr. Musk and Ms. Iaccarino did not respond to requests for comment. The Wall Street Journal I mentioned earlier That Ms. Jacarino has been in talks with Mr. Musk.
Musk, who bought Twitter for $44 billion last year, will maintain a firm grip on the company even if he appoints a CEO. As Twitter’s owner, he’s put his stamp on it by eliminating more than 75 percent of its 7,500 employees, installing its own leaders and changing the service’s features and strategy. He’s also taken Twitter private, which means he doesn’t have to reveal company information to the public.
Any new CEO is set to inherit a series of challenges at Twitter. The company faces a declining advertising business, which was its main source of income, as well as debt payments of about $1.5 billion a year from the sale to Mr. Musk. At an investor conference in March, he said Twitter had seen a 50 percent drop in ad revenue and was on the way to bankruptcy within months of buying it.
Some of Twitter Ads’ problems were related to a broader downturn due to uncertainty in the global economy. But Mr. Musk also scared off advertisers after he bought Twitter by taking away protections about what kind of posts are allowed on the social media service. Brands usually don’t want to display ads alongside toxic content.
IPG, one of the world’s largest advertising companies, issued a recommendation in the fall through its media agencies to clients to pause their spending on Twitter due to moderation concerns.
Last month, in an interview with BBCMost of the Twitter advertisers are back, Mr. Musk said.
In Ms. Yaccarino, Twitter will acquire an executive with deep ties to the advertising industry and extensive experience in the media sector. Ms. Yaccarino, whose star rose over the course of a long career at NBCUniversal, has personal relationships with most of the CEOs of ad holding companies, a prime constituency for Twitter.
She’s moved into the upper echelons of the advertising world for years, overseeing a sprawling team that brokered major marketing partnerships, helped develop NBC Universal’s broadcast options, critiqued outdated industry practices and made more than $100 billion in ad sales. She has been heavily involved in the network’s handling of high-profile events such as the Super Bowl and the Olympic Games. It is also a reliable presence at glamorous advertising events, such as the Cannes Lions Festival in the south of France.
The conversations about the Twitter CEO come at a sensitive time for Ms. Yaccarino, who is set to address NBCUniversal’s biggest client next week at the premieres, an annual show to lure advertisers.
Mr. Musk raised the idea for the Twitter CEO in December after he came under fire for some of his decisions at the company. He ran a Twitter poll at the time asking if he should step down as president of the company. “I will abide by the results of the poll,” he wrote.
More than 17 million votes were cast in the poll, with about 58 percent of respondents saying they supported him stepping down as CEO. In February, while speaking at a conference in Dubai, Mr. Musk said he was aiming to appoint a new CEO for Twitter by the end of 2023.
Twitter workers weren’t notified of a new CEO before Mr. Musk’s tweet, according to two employees.
Mr. Musk has also come under pressure from investors in his other companies — notably electric carmaker Tesla — to move away from the day-to-day management of Twitter, which they saw as a distraction. Tesla shares, which were little changed most of the day, jumped after Mr. Musk’s tweet, rising about 2 percent in the final minutes of trading on Thursday.
Mr. Musk has previously abdicated some leadership responsibilities at his other companies. At SpaceX, his rocket manufacturer, he delegated much of the company’s management to Gwen Shotwell, president and chief operating officer. That freed Mr. Musk to focus on engineering and product decisions, and to navigate his various companies.
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