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In a dramatic shakeup just days before the TV upfronts, NBCUniversal says that Linda Yaccarino, its longtime head of ad sales, will depart the company effective immediately.
Yaccarino will be joining Twitter, where she will be the social platform’s new CEO. Twitter owner Elon Musk announced Yaccarino’s hire Friday.
Yaccarino “will focus primarily on business operations, while I focus on product design & new technology,” Musk tweeted. “Looking forward to working with Linda to transform this platform into X, the everything app.”
Musk previously said that he would “transition to being exec chair & CTO, overseeing product, software & sysops” when the new CEO started, suggesting that he will continue to oversee Twitter’s product and software development.
Meanwhile at NBCU, Yaccarino will be succeeded by Mark Marshall, who has been promoted to interim chairman of global advertising and partnerships. Marshall, however, will report to Mark Lazarus, the chairman of NBCUniversal television and streaming, rather than to Comcast president Mike Cavanagh, to whom Yaccarino most recently reported.
The new organizational structure expands Lazarus’ influence within the company at a time when it is without a dedicated CEO (Jeff Shell was terminated by NBCU last month, with Cavanagh assuming oversight while keeping his job at Comcast).
Yaccarino had been expected to lead NBCUniversal’s upfront presentation at Radio City Music Hall Monday morning, and a spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter Thursday night that she could not be reached for comment because she was in “back to back rehearsals” for the event. Now NBCU will have to pivot once more.
“It has been an absolute honor to be part of Comcast NBCUniversal and lead the most incredible team,” Yaccarino said in a statement. “We’ve transformed our company and the entire industry — and I am so proud of what we’ve accomplished together, and grateful to my colleagues and mentors, especially Brian Roberts, Mike Cavanagh and the entire NBCU leadership team.”
Musk acquired Twitter last year for $44 billion. He tweeted Thursday that he had hired a new CEO who would start this summer, though he did not name her in his tweet.
Musk was interviewed by Yaccarino at an advertising industry event last month, and last week Twitter announced a new 2024 Olympics content deal with NBCU.
However, Twitter’s revenue has collapsed since the takeover, with many advertisers spooked about brand safety on the platform, and with Musk so far unsuccessfully pursuing a more aggressive subscription strategy.
It will now fall on Yaccarino to figure out how Twitter moves forward with its business.
“We are grateful for Linda Yaccarino’s leadership of NBCUniversal’s Advertising Sales business, and for the innovative team and platform she has built,” Cavanagh added in a statement. “Linda has made countless contributions to the company during her twelve year tenure, and we wish her the best.”
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