Elon Musk vaulted Penn State alumna Linda Yaccarino into one of the most visible leadership positions in tech Friday when he announced she would be Twitter’s new CEO. The tech billionaire, who owns Tesla and SpaceX, also confirmed a change at Twitter’s parent company, naming her chairman and CTO overseeing product, software and sysops.
Yaccarino inherits a company that’s been hemorrhaging ad revenue since Musk took over last October. The social media site has axed nearly 80% of its staff, and its erratic content moderation policies have driven away advertisers who worry their ads could appear next to inappropriate content.
Her departure from NBCUniversal comes just ahead of this year’s upfronts, a key presentation to advertisers that locks in lucrative ad deals for months to come.
Yaccarino had been a major presence at these events in the past and is expected to play a significant role at Monday’s presentation at Radio City Music Hall, where she will push NBCUniversal’s ad-supported streaming service, Peacock.
It will be up to Yaccarino to restore the company’s relevance in a digital era and to re-energize its advertising base. She’s been a vocal advocate for integrating brands into NBCUniversal’s streaming offerings, helping the network adapt to the shift from broadcast TV to online video.
Her track record will be well-suited to the task, and her promotion highlights a growing trend of women, minorities and young people taking over once-hallowed positions in the technology industry.