Breaking: New Twitter CEO emerges

Elon Musk said he has hired Linda Yaccarino, NBCUniversal’s former head of advertising, as Twitter’s new chief executive.

The billionaire has been Twitter chief executive since his $44bn acquisition of the company in October but signalled his position would be temporary. Without naming a successor, Musk wrote on Twitter on Thursday: “Excited to announce that I’ve hired a new CEO for X/Twitter. She will be starting in ~6 weeks!”

He made the official announcement on Friday, writing on Twitter that Yaccarino “will focus primarily on business operations, while I focus on product design & new technology “.

“Looking forward to working with Linda to transform this platform into X, the everything app,” he wrote.

NBCUniversal on Friday morning announced that Yaccarino would be leaving the company “effective immediately”. Her abrupt exit comes just a few days before NBCUniversal’s annual “upfronts” presentation — the biggest event of the year in television advertising.

Yaccarino, who had been rumoured as a candidate to take over as chief executive of NBCUniversal after the departure of Jeff Shell last month, said on Friday: “It has been an absolute honour to be part of Comcast NBCUniversal.”

The Wall Street Journal first reported she was in discussions for the Twitter job.

Musk and Yaccarino recently appeared together at a conference in Miami where they gave a keynote speech titled “Twitter 2.0: From Conversations to Partnerships”. They seemed to have a good rapport onstage, with Yaccarino displaying a flair for showmanship, according to people who saw the presentation.

The announcement comes as shareholders of Tesla, the electric-car maker that Musk also runs, have increasingly put pressure on him to return his focus to that company, whose shares have fallen 30 per cent over the past year. Tesla’s stock jumped about 2 per cent on news of the new Twitter chief.

Musk said earlier that he would be moving to the roles of Twitter’s executive chair and chief technology officer, “overseeing product, software and sysops [systems operations]”.

Twitter investors and bankers have also been keen for Musk to select new management as soon as possible, according to people familiar with the matter.

Yaccarino, a well-regarded advertising executive, will bring to Twitter a tight relationship with marketers and ad agencies. Daniel Ives, analyst at Wedbush Securities, said it would be a “home run hire” and “a major step forward with Musk finally reading the room”.