Elon Musk is making good on his promise to step down as Twitter CEO following a poll. The entrepreneur has announced that a replacement chief executive will start at Twitter in roughly six weeks. While he hasn’t identified the new leader by name, he indicated he had hired a woman for the role. Musk will stay on as executive chairman and chief technical officer covering “product, software and sysops.”
Hours after Musk’s announcement, The Wall Street Journal reported that NBCUniversal advertising exec Linda Yaccarino “is in talks” to take over the CEO role at Twitter. Yaccarino is known for being an “industry advocate for finding better ways to measure the effectiveness of advertising,” according to The Journal. Twitter didn’t respond to a request for comment, but Yaccarino and Musk are apparently on good terms.
The two have appeared together at ad industry events, and Yaccarino has spoken favorably of Musk. NBCU also has significant partnerships with Twitter, recently renewing its partnership to host video from the 2024 Olympics on Twitter. And, as AdAge recently pointed out, Yaccarino tweeted at Musk that Twitter should bring back Periscope, calling it “an idea for our new partnership.”
Excited to announce that I’ve a new CEO for X/Twitter. She will be starting in ~6 weeks! My role will transition to being exec chair & CTO, overseeing product, software & sysops.
Musk said in December that he would honor the results of a poll asking whether or not he should bow out. He didn’t give a timeline, but did say he would leave as soon as he found someone “foolish enough to take the job.” He also said he would relegate himself to running software and server teams. He has also abided by the outcomes of other polls for major decisions.
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His tenure has been chaotic since it began in October. He made a point of firing the executive team and dissolving the board of directors. Most rank-and-file employees from before the purchase have either been laid off or quit. Twitter’s looser content moderation policies under Musk, which have focused on limiting reach rather than bans, have earned praise from some circles but have also prompted an exodus of advertisers that don’t want to risk running ads next to hate speech and misinformation. The social network has tried to shift more of its revenue toward subscriptions, but may have had only limited success.
It’s not clear how much practical control Musk will have following the leadership shuffle. While he’ll no longer be CEO, he’ll still have significant influence over Twitter’s technology. And given that Musk played a role in finding a replacement, the new hire might not be quick to change strategy. Don’t be shocked if Twitter maintains the Musk-era status quo, at least for a while.
This could assuage the fears of some Tesla investors. They’ve worried that Musk has been distracted from work at his best-known company by focusing on Twitter. With his reduced role, he’ll theoretically have more time to devote to his EV brand as it faces mounting competition.
Update 5/11 4:58 PM PT: This story has been updated to reflect reports that NBCU exec Linda Yaccarino is in the running for the CEO role.