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Linda Yaccarino, former chairman of advertising and partnerships at NBC Universal Media Image Credit: Bloomberg

California: NBCUniversal advertising chief Linda Yaccarino is taking the helm at Twitter, where she will confront an exodus of marketers who’ve left the social-media platform since Elon Musk took over.

NBCUniversal announced her departure on Friday morning, effective immediately. The move sets the stage for her to join Twitter as CEO, said a person familiar with the situation who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Without naming Yaccarino, Musk said in a tweet on Thursday that he had chosen a new CEO who would begin in six weeks and that he is shifting into the role of chief technologist at the company.

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Yaccarino may be in a unique position to deal with the fallout from Musk’s takeover of Twitter last year. Despite a slight uptick in daily users since early 2022, Twitter’s revenue has fallen by 50 per cent since October as a result of a “massive decline” in advertising, Musk said in March. At NBC, Yaccarino helped launch the ad-supported streaming service Peacock and has led partnerships with a variety of tech companies, including Snapchat, YouTube, and, of course, Twitter.

“She’s probably just what Elon needs to establish trust among advertisers,” said Martin Sorrell, chairman of S4Capital Plc and former CEO of WPP. “She’s going go to have to do something to make sure that everything is hunky-dory from an operations standpoint.”

Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion last October and indicated that he’d only be in charge for a limited time to complete the organizational overhaul he thought the company needed to prosper. In December, Musk asked his Twitter followers if he should step down as CEO, and 57.5 per cent said yes. The billionaire said he will remain executive chairman after the transition.

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As the CEO also of of Tesla and Space Exploration Technologies, Musk complained of having “too much work” and sleeping at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters while implementing radical changes.

Musk has drawn criticism for his abrupt policy changes at Twitter and neglect of his other businesses. He’s also changed the corporate name of Twitter’s parent to X Holdings, an entity that could eventually be the umbrella for all his businesses “- an idea he has publicly mused about. Musk has also said he wants to build Twitter beyond social media and into an “everything app,” including financial services.