Twitter’s New CEO, Linda Yaccarino, Eases Into the Hot Seat

When Elon Musk announced last month that he had hired Linda Yaccarino as CEO of Twitter, he said: Said He was “thrilled” to hire someone who “can focus primarily on running the business.”

But just over three weeks into her new job, Yaccarino, the former head of advertising at NBCUniversal, was unable to work on a key part of the job she was hired for: advertising for Twitter. rice field.

Yaccarino, 60, has spoken to some Twitter advertisers about offensive content on the site, according to four people familiar with the conversation. But she has never publicly promoted or actually negotiated with advertisers to increase Twitter’s revenue.

That’s because the deal with NBCUniversal prevented Yaccarino (at least initially) from working on an advertising deal that conflicted with his former employer’s interests, three people familiar with the arrangement said. .

This is all part of an adjustment for Yacarino to adjust to his new role and report directly to his new boss. After working for decades at traditional New York media organizations, she is now helping lead a San Francisco-based social media company that has undergone a rapid transformation under Musk, who bought Twitter last year.

Yaccarino was restricted from entering into advertising deals, but instead repaired at least one relationship with Twitter and Google. He consulted with regulators. And we focused on employee morale. She held happy hours and tried to bring employees together with a mission statement and more internal communications.

“Twitter is the world’s most accurate source of real-time information and is on a mission to become the global city square for communication,” she wrote in her first company-wide email earlier this month. Obtained by The New York Times. “We are on the brink of making history.”

Twitter declined to interview Yaccarino, a longtime Madison Avenue powerhouse. A source close to her said her non-compete clause was only extended for the first few weeks after joining Twitter, and another said it would be difficult for NBCUniversal to enforce. It was unclear when the clause would expire.

Mr. Musk did not respond to a request for comment.

Yaccarino took over as Twitter CEO on June 5. Two days before that, Yaccarino, a local Long Islander and long-time New Yorker, tweeted A photo of the Manhattan skyline and the message, “Bay Area views are coming soon!” She took at least one NBCUniversal colleague to Twitter.

Three employees said Musk had not announced the hiring of Yaccarino to Twitter. Instead, Yaccarino’s email to the company’s sales team before joining the company listed her appointment as the second bullet point below an update on new features for advertisers.

Yaccarino was quick to take to Twitter to express his upbeat opinion.

At an internal advertising sales meeting on June 12, he addressed the current state of advertising on Twitter. Mr. Musk had removed guardrails on site, allowed misinformation and harmful content to spread, and blocked advertising for brands. The company’s U.S. ad revenue is down nearly 60%, and Musk expects revenue to be around $3 billion this year, down from $5.1 billion in 2021.

Yaccarino acknowledged that some “big brands” were moving away from the platform and said she and other salespeople would have to “fight hand-to-hand,” according to a transcript of the meeting obtained by The Times. . She persuades them to return. She didn’t mention at the time that she couldn’t discuss advertising deals with clients.

Yaccarino also said he would take a different stance on Musk’s volatile relationship with the media. Her strategy, she said, is to “build very good relationships with them so that they become our advocates or advocates and reinforce our strategy.”

But Yaccarino also revealed that he knew who was in charge. She called Mr. Musk, who was not present, “boss.”

Two days later, Yaccarino met with Twitter investors and lenders in San Francisco with Musk, according to people familiar with the meeting. Together, they announced plans for the company to focus more on video, work with influencers and news publishers, and integrate payment features. Reuters I just gave a presentation.

Yaccarino’s non-compete clause with NBC held him back from major advertising negotiations, but he remained busy.

David Cohen, chief executive of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, an industry group, said in an email that he had been on a “sort of fact-finding tour” with Yaccarino. He said he was assessing Twitter’s position on issues such as how to use his relationships in the advertising industry to keep ads away from offensive content, adding: “She’s definitely listening.” .

But when Publicis Groupe, one of the world’s largest ad agencies, held a conference in Paris on June 16, the chairman met with Musk without Yaccarino, who was in San Francisco. Mr. Musk is traveling Lunch with Bernard ArnaultFounder of LVMH, the world’s largest luxury company and major advertiser.

Yaccarino also didn’t attend last week’s Cannes Lions Advertising Festival, a glorious networking event on the French Riviera, considered the pinnacle of the advertising industry. Twitter has significantly reduced its spending and presence in the country compared to the previous year.

Anyway, Mr. Yaccarino tweeted She said she had sought feedback from Cannes attendees. “I’m here for everything!” she wrote.

She remained at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters, where she hosted a European Union delegation led by Commissioner Thierry Breton. The group was testing whether Twitter’s content moderation system complies with the new European Digital Services Act, which makes social platforms responsible for policing illegal content and misinformation. It will come into force in August.

Yaccarino has made progress in several areas, including helping Twitter and Google mend ties. Twitter’s partial suspension of payments to Google for its cloud computing services has caused that relationship to fray under Mr. Musk. According to an internal memo obtained by the newspaper, Twitter owed Google more than $42 million in unpaid bills and was planning to stop using Google products by the end of June.

Yaccarino had spoken to Google Cloud head Thomas Kurian earlier this month to try to resolve the issue and ordered the company to pay the bill, according to a person familiar with the conversation. She also persuaded Musk to accept new developments, the person said.

Google declined to news report Earlier, Twitter resumed paying Google.

Yaccarino is also trying to reach out more to Twitter’s workforce, which has fallen by more than 75 percent due to layoffs and other turnovers since Musk bought the company. Twitter framed a copy of her photo motivational tweets I hung a piece about “wearing four-inch heels” while working as an executive in the dining common area of ​​my San Francisco office. According to her current employees and four of her former employees, she also hosts happy hours in New York and New York.

Two of them said she was always optimistic in their conversations. Yaccarino said in a meeting with sales teams earlier this month that Twitter has “opportunities that have emerged from the challenges of the past few months.”

“Give me the right direction,” she said. “I know what you need.”

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