Linda Yaccarino, a hard-charging veteran of TV’s ad-sales wars, is in talks to become the next chief executive of Twitter, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Yaccarino, who spent a good chunk of her career at WarnerMedia’s TV operations before joining NBCUniversal last decade, supervises the Comcast-owned company’s ad-sales efforts across the globe, with Peacock and NBC among the assets she helps fortify with revenue. In recent years, she has spearheaded initiatives to generate new cash flows through e-commerce, and worked to redefine the way the TV industry measures its audiences for advertisers in hopes of giving more credibility to the way Madison Avenue pays for people who watch their favorite programs via streaming video.
A spokesman for NBCUniversal’s ad-sales business said he did not know any details surrounding a change in Yaccarino’s status with the company. “Linda is in back to back rehearsals for Monday’s upfront,” said the spokesman, Joe Benarroch, referring to the annual sales presentations NBCU and its rivals make to advertisers each year in May. The person familiar with the matter suggested NBCU might have to rework the presentation because of Yaccarino’s potential departure.
Twitter could use a Madison Avenue expert. Since being purchased by Elon Musk in October for $44 billion, the social-media venue has lost advertisers while its owner experiments with its features in real time, removing some facets, and reinstalling others. Musk has removed the blue-check labels that verify identities, only making them available if users pay extra for them. And he has granted new access to accounts that were previously banned for passing along disinformation or offensive material.
But there are other digitally savvy executives who could make for a sound choice for Twitter CEO. Nada Stirratt, for example, is a veteran digital advertising executive who recently left Facebook and has worked for the former Viacom as well as News Corp., and was CEO of Verve Mobile, a location-based mobile technology platform.
Yaccarino has over the past several months tried to help Twitter rehabilitate its reputation with advertisers. In April, she interviewed Musk at an industry event in Miami Beach, and NBCUniversal recently expanded an agreement with Twitter that will make content tied to the 2024 Paris Olympics available on the social site — including a daily live show. People familiar with the matter say she has fostered professional ties to Chris Riedy, Twitter’s vice president of global sales and marketing, and that she has long expressed admiration for Musk.
(Excerpt) Read more in: Variety