NBCUniversal ad honcho Linda Yaccarino resigns, as sources say she’s in talks to be Twitter CEO

May 15, 2023

NBCUniversal Global Advertising Chief Linda Yaccarino has resigned, the company said on Friday, May 12. The announcement comes a day after Elon Musk said via Twitter there would be a new CEO of the social media website, although he didn’t name the new person. Musk said in his tweet that the person would start in about six weeks, reports CNBC.

Yaccarino has been in advanced talks for the role, CNBC’s Julia Boorstin detailed, citing sources.

Yaccarino joined NBCUniversal in 2011 and had risen to the top of the company’s global advertising business. Today, the ad chief had been slated to take part in NBCUniversal’s Upfront event at Radio City Music Hall—the sales presentation that the company, along with its media peers, makes to the advertising industry every year in May. That obviously won’t happen now.

According to CNBC, the longtime ad executive brings a wealth of relationships with top chief marketing officers and other advertising executives to Twitter at a time when the platform has seen advertisers fleelosing billions of dollars—after Musk’s takeover last year.

Musk completed his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter in October 2022. Soon after, he fired the company’s top brass and laid off thousands of employees.

Many companies halted their ad spending on the platform after seeing a marked increase in offensive speech and rhetoric, as several advocacy groups have documented. In an attempt to make up for the loss of ad revenue, Musk created a new subscription service, Twitter Blue, which offers features such as the ability to compose longer tweets.

Yaccarino and Musk sat together in a keynote interview at a marketing conference in Florida in mid-April. During the conversation, the two discussed the role marketers would play in the future of Twitter, as well as its position in the cultural conversation.

During the conference, Musk reportedly tried to reassure advertisers that Twitter was a respectable place for their brands.

Yaccarino’s exit from NBCUniversal comes weeks after Jeff Shell was ousted as the company’s CEO after admitting to an inappropriate relationship with an employee. Rather than replacing Shell, NBCUniversal’s top executives will report to parent company Comcast President Mike Cavanagh.\

On Friday, NBCUniversal said Yaccarino would leave the company, effective immediately, and Mark Marshall, the current president of advertising sales and client partnerships would become interim chairman of the company’s advertising and partnerships group.

Marshall will report to Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. Lazarus and Marshall are likely to take part in NBCUniversal’s Upfront presentation today, CNBC’s David Faber and Julia Boorstin reported on Friday.

Research contact: @CNBC