Elon Musk has confirmed reports that Linda Yaccarino, NBCUniversal’s former head of advertising and partnerships, will succeed him as Twitter CEO. In an announcement on Twitter, Musk said that Yaccarino will focus on business operations while he focuses on product design and new technology. Musk has ambitious plans to make Twitter an all-encompassing product spanning mobile payments, messaging, and more, which he refers to as the “X” app. Yaccarino’s appointment comes as Twitter looks to turn around its slumping ad business. The social media company has suffered a “massive decline” in ad revenue under Musk's leadership, with ad sales accounting for 92% of Twitter’s total revenues in the last publicly available financial period. Twitter's valuation has also reportedly shrunk to $20 billion, down from the $44 billion price tag that Musk bought the company for last year.
Yaccarino’s extensive advertising experience makes her a “home run hire” for Twitter, according to Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. However, Musk’s decision to hire Yaccarino has faced some early pushback from mostly right-wing figures who have criticized her endorsement of public health measures during the Covid-19 pandemic, social justice initiatives, and involvement with the World Economic Forum. Musk responded to the criticism, saying that Yaccarino is “smart, fair, and reasonable” and that people from both sides of the political spectrum will find her to be so.
Tesla’s shares rallied as much as 4% after Musk tweeted Thursday afternoon that he had found a replacement for himself as Twitter CEO, adding about $15 billion in market value as Musk freed up time to refocus on his role as Tesla’s CEO. However, Tesla’s gains were wiped out by mid-day Friday amid a broader market downturn.