Twitter’s new CEO Linda Yacarino hits the hot seat

Twitter's new CEO Linda Yacarino hits the hot seat

When Elon Musk announced last month that he had hired Linda Yacarino as chief executive of Twitter Said He was “excited” to bring on someone who “could primarily focus on business operations.”

But just over three weeks into her new job, Ms. Yacarino, the former head of advertising at NBCUniversal, has been barred from working on a key component for which she was hired: creating ads for Twitter. .

Ms Yacarino, 60, has spoken to some of Twitter’s advertisers about distasteful content on the site, said four people with knowledge of the conversations. But she has not been involved in public gatherings and pragmatic negotiations with advertisers to increase Twitter’s revenue.

That’s because a contractual agreement with NBCUniversal barred Ms. Yacarino — at least initially — from working on advertising deals that would conflict with the interests of her former employer, said three people familiar with the arrangement.

It’s all part of an adjustment as Ms. Yacarino settles into her new role and reports to a new boss. After decades working for traditional media organizations in New York, she is now helping lead a San Francisco-based social media company that has undergone rapid changes under Mr. Musk, who bought Twitter last year.

Banned from making advertising deals, Ms. Yacarino has instead repaired at least one relationship between Twitter and Google; talked to regulators; and focused on employee morale. They have organized happy hours and tried to unite workers with mission statements and more internal communication.

“Twitter is on a mission to become the world’s most accurate real-time information source and a global city for communication,” he wrote this month in his first companywide email, obtained by The New York Times. “We are on the verge of making history.”

Twitter did not make Ms. Yacarino, a longtime Madison Avenue power player, available for an interview. One person close to him said the non-compete clause only extended to his first few weeks on Twitter, while another said it was difficult for NBCUniversal to enforce. The clause’s expiration date was unclear.

Mr Musk did not respond to a request for comment.

Ms Yacarino started as chief executive of Twitter on 5 June. Two days ago, native Long Islander and longtime New Yorker Tweeted A photo of the Manhattan skyline with the message: “Bay Area views coming soon!” She took at least one NBCUniversal colleague with her to Twitter.

The three employees said Mr Musk had not made a company-wide announcement on Twitter about Ms Yacarino’s appointment. Instead, in an email to the company’s sales team before Ms. Yacarino started, her appointment was the second bullet point below an update about a new feature for advertisers.

Ms. Yacarino immediately made an upbeat comment on Twitter.

At an internal advertising sales meeting on June 12, he addressed the state of Twitter’s advertising. Mr Musk had removed railings on the site, which prevented misinformation and toxic content from flourishing and brands from advertising. The company’s US advertising revenue has fallen by about 60 percent, and Mr. Musk has said he expects revenue to be around $3 billion this year, down from $5.1 billion in 2021.

According to a recording of the meeting obtained by The Times, Ms Yacarino acknowledged some “big brands” had stayed off the stage, and said she and other sales staff would have to “fight hand-to-hand”. Persuade them to return. He did not mention his inability to discuss advertising deals with clients at the time.

Ms. Yacarino also said she would take a different approach to Mr. Musk’s poor relationship with the media. His strategy, he said, is to “have a great relationship with them so that they become our advocates or mouthpieces to amplify our strategies.”

But Ms Yacarino also made clear she knew who was in charge. He referred to Mr. Musk, who was not present, as “the boss.”

Two days later, Ms. Yacarino met with Mr. Musk in San Francisco with Twitter’s investors and lenders, a person familiar with the meeting said. Together, they presented their plans for the company to focus more on video, work with influencers and news publishers, and integrate payment capabilities. reuters The presentation was reported earlier.

While Ms. Yacarino’s non-compete clause with NBC kept her from major advertising discussions, she remained busy.

David Cohen, chief executive of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade group, said he had emailed Ms Yacarino and that she was on “a fact-finding tour of sorts”. She is leveraging her connections in the advertising industry to understand where Twitter stands on issues like how to steer ads away from offensive content, she said, adding, “She’s definitely listening.”

Yet when Publicis Groupe, one of the world’s largest advertising agencies, held a conference in Paris on June 16, its chairman interviewed Mr. Musk without Ms. Yacarino in San Francisco. Mr. Musk also during the visit Had lunch with Bernard ArnaultFounder of LVMH, the world’s largest luxury company and a major advertiser.

Ms Yacarino also missed last week’s Cannes Lions advertising festival, a glitzy networking event on the French Riviera that is often considered the pinnacle of the advertising industry calendar. Twitter has significantly reduced its spending and presence there compared to previous years.

Anyway, Ms. Yacarino Tweeted She was seeking feedback from Cannes attendees. “I’m here for all of this!” she wrote.

She stayed at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco, where she hosted an EU delegation led by Commissioner Thierry Breton. The group was testing whether Twitter’s content moderation system would comply with a new European law, the Digital Services Act, which holds social platforms responsible for curbing illegal content and misinformation. This will come into force in August.

Ms. Yacarino has made progress in some areas, including helping repair Twitter’s relationship with Google. The relationship soured during Mr Musk’s tenure when Twitter partially stopped paying Google for cloud computing services. According to an internal memo obtained by The Times, Twitter owed Google more than $42 million in unpaid invoices and was trying to stop using Google’s products by the end of June.

Ms. Yacarino this month spoke to Google Cloud chief Thomas Kurian to resolve the issue and ordered him to foot the bill, said a person familiar with the conversation. They also persuaded Mr Musk to embrace the new development, the person said.

Google declined to comment. bloomberg news informed of Earlier Twitter had resumed paying Google.

Ms Yacarino has made an effort to reach out more to Twitter’s workforce, which has been reduced by more than 75 percent due to layoffs and other departures since Mr Musk bought the company. Twitter made a copy of one of them motivational tweet about “wearing 4 inch heels” while working as an executive and hung it in a dining common area at the San Francisco office. Four current and former employees said they have held happy hours there and in New York as well.

And she has been consistently optimistic in her conversation, two of the people said. In her meeting with the sales team this month, Ms. Yacarino said Twitter has an “opportunity that comes after being challenged over the past several months.”

“Show me the right direction,” she said. “I know what the outcome is going to be.”

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