Who Is Linda Yaccarino, Twitter’s New CEO?

Mimi Nguyen Ly
By Mimi Nguyen Ly
May 13, 2023US News
Who Is Linda Yaccarino, Twitter’s New CEO?
Chairman of Advertising Sales & Client Partnerships at NBCUniversal Linda Yaccarino speaks at The Girls' Lounge dinner, giving visibility to women at Advertising Week 2016, at Pier 60 in New York on Sept. 27, 2016. (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for The Girls' Lounge)

Linda Yaccarino, Twitter’s new CEO, has had decades of experience with the advertising industry and has a position at the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Billionaire Elon Musk, who has been running Twitter since he bought it last fall, said he is “excited” to welcome Yaccarino to the post, which she will take on in about six weeks. Musk added that Yaccarino “will focus primarily on business operations” while he will “focus on product design & new technology.”

Yaccarino graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1985. She lives in Sea Cliff, New York, with her husband, Claude Madrazo. They have two children, Christian and Matthew.

Extensive Advertising Background

Yaccarino, 60, has a wealth of relationships with top chief marketing officers and other advertising executives, which can potentially benefit Twitter as it tries to reverse a plunge of billions of dollars in ad revenue since Musk’s takeover.

Yaccarino has pushed the ad industry for change on several fronts, including advocating for relying less heavily on Nielsen ratings for measurement and introducing a digital platform called One Platform that makes it easier to buy ads across a variety of different media in an effort to better compete for ads against social media companies and traditional media companies.

1. NBC Universal

Yaccarino’s most recent post was chair of global advertising and partnerships at the Comcast-owned NBCUniversal. She oversaw all market strategy and advertising revenue for NBCUniversal’s entire portfolio of broadcast, cable, and digital assets. The revenue totaled nearly $10 billion.

On Friday, prior to Musk announcing Yaccarino’s new position at Twitter, NBCUniversal said she would step down immediately from her position, and Yaccarino confirmed she was departing the network, where she had spent a little under 12 years.

Linda Yaccarino
Linda Yaccarino during 2016 Advertising Week New York in New York City. on Sept. 28, 2016. (D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Advertising Week New York)

Yaccarino joined NBCUniversal in 2011, around the time when Comcast was completing its merger with NBC. Besides overseeing the network’s advertising strategy across television and digital properties, she also played a key role in launching the network’s ad-supported streaming service Peacock in 2020.

A company profile at NBCUniversal showed that she oversaw a 2,000-member team, likely more people than those who work at Twitter. Musk told a BBC reporter that the company is down to 1,500 people after several layoffs under his watch

2. Turner Entertainment

Before joining NBCUniversal, Yaccarino was with Turner Broadcasting System for 15 years.

There, she held multiple roles, including executive vice president and chief operating officer across its advertising sales, marking, and acquisitions divisions, until leaving the media conglomerate in 2011.

As of April 2022, Turner Broadcasting System is owned by Warner Bros Discovery. It also currently operates CNN.

World Economic Forum

In her LinkedIn profile, Yaccarino indicates she has been the WEF’s executive chair since January 2019. Specifically, she is the chairperson of the WEF’s Taskforce on the Future of Work.

She is also a member of the WEF’s Media, Entertainment, and Culture Industry Governors Steering Committee. According to the WEF website, the committee, made up of chief executives and chairs from partner organizations, “define the industry agenda and drive change” in media and entertainment to “enable a more informed, united and inclusive society.”

Critics of the WEF often claim that the organization is working to control the world through its influence on global politics, the economy, and the media. They typically argue that WEF’s focus on globalization and its promotion of neoliberal economic policies are evidence of this goal.

World Economic Forum
A World Economic Forum (WEF) sign is seen at the Davos Congress Centre during the organization’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on May 23, 2022. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)

Additionally, some critics of the WEF view with disdain its exclusive, invitation-only membership and its annual meeting in Davos, which reinforce the organization’s elitist image.

Yaccarino’s profile says she is also “highly engaged” with the Value in Media initiative.

This WEF research project, in part, explores how different stakeholders in media—such as content creators, advertisers, marketing agencies, and consumers—each consume and promote media content.

It also looks at how people consume and pay for content, how that evolves, and how technology and large advertisers can and should shape the media environment and influence content online.

Work With US Government

Yaccarino was appointed in 2018 by then-President Donald Trump to serve on his Council on Sports Fitness and Nutrition for two years,

Separately, as chair of the Ad Council in 2021 and 2022, Yaccarino has worked with the Biden White House and government agencies, as well as the business community, to help create a COVID-19 vaccination campaign that reached over 200 million Americans.

Onstage Interview With Musk

Yaccarino interviewed Musk on stage at an advertising conference in Miami last month, where she encouraged him to consider allowing advertisers to have an influence on the platform’s content.

“So you’ve got a massive platform, you have a vision that is a spectrum of just daily, open sourced conversation, and they can conduct their lives, their business, their commerce, whatever they can do on your platform, that’s a pretty big vision,” she said.

“But in the middle should be advertising opportunity; it sounds like a great opportunity. I can talk about my brand, I can get my customers to communicate, and they can also buy stuff; it sounds pretty good, right? … But they need to feel there is an opportunity for them to influence what you’re building, that vision.”

In response, Musk said, “It is important that—if I were to say ‘yes, you would be able to influence me,’ that would be wrong. That would be very wrong. That would be a diminishment in freedom of speech.”

Yaccarino responded, “I want to be more specific about influencing. It’s more of an open feedback loop for the advertising experts in this room to help develop Twitter into a place where they will be excited about investing more money. Product development, ad safety, content moderation—that’s where the influence is.”

Musk again responded with freedom of speech concerns.

“It’s totally cool to say that you want your advertising to appear in certain places on Twitter and not in other places,” Musk said. “But it is not cool to try to say what Twitter will do. And if that means losing advertising dollars, we lose it. But freedom of speech is paramount.”

She also asked whether Musk would commit to reinstating a “much-loved influence council” allowing advertisers to communicate with Twitter’s leadership.

“Well, I don’t think it should be ‘influence council,'” Musk replied.
“I would be wary of that creating a backlash among the public. Because if the public thinks that their views are being determined by a small number of CMOs in America, they will be, I think, upset about that.

“But feedback, I think, is appropriate, and at the end of the day, if somebody is spending money for their ad campaign, it needs to yield results for their organization, or it doesn’t make sense.”

Jack Phillips, Lorenz Duchamps, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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