Twitter has a new, new sheriff in town. On Friday, Elon Musk announced that he would be stepping down as CEO of the social media platform and has chosen Linda Yaccarino as his successor.
Yahoo Financewrites that “Yaccarino’s appointment comes as the platform has been in turmoil, with mass resignations and some companies pausing advertising, since the Musk acquisition in October.
She previously spent 11 years with NBCUniversal where she most recently had been chairman of global advertising and partnerships at NBCU. She resigned from the role earlier Friday morning.
‘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.’
“In choosing Ms. Yaccarino,” The New York Times noted, “Mr. Musk is signaling what his priority is at Twitter: its advertising business, rather than social media know-how. Ms. Yaccarino has been one of Madison Avenue’s power brokers for decades. And Twitter, which makes the bulk of its revenue from ads, has struggled to expand that business, especially after Mr. Musk spooked advertisers last year.
“Linda’s a force,” said Joe Marchese, the former head of ad sales at the Fox Networks Group, who has known Ms. Yaccarino for at least a decade. “She has one of the biggest jobs in advertising, and the ad market is as hard as it’s ever been.”
Yet Ms. Yaccarino will have to do more than contend with Twitter’s advertising woes. The company, which is based in San Francisco, has been severely slimmed down since Mr. Musk slashed 75 percent of its work force and has grappled with gaps in expertise and technical glitches. Twitter is also weighed down by $13 billion in debt that it took on to enable Mr. Musk to buy the company.
Most significantly, Ms. Yaccarino would have to deal with a mercurial and unpredictable boss in Mr. Musk. The 51-year-old billionaire has a track record of firing executives who don’t achieve his goals. He sometimes tweets news about his various companies, which also include the electric carmaker Tesla, without warning. And as Twitter’s owner, Mr. Musk retains absolute power at the company.”
Yahoo Finance also argued that Musk handing the reins of Twitter to someone else should be good for Tesla. “Musk first made his bid for Twitter on April 14, 2022. Tesla shares closed the day at $333. Since then, the stock has lost nearly half of its value as Musk has sold off shares to pay for his new social media platform. The official $44 billion purchase closed in October, and Wall Street has been hyperfocused on the ‘Twitter overhang’ weighing down Tesla’s stock since.
‘Musk’s reign as CEO of Twitter has finally come to an end and thus will be a positive for Tesla’s stock starting to finally remove this lingering albatross from the story,’ Wedbush Securities managing director Dan Ives wrote in a note to clients on Friday morning. ‘We believe this adds roughly $15 per share to the Tesla story as the Musk CEO overhang is now gone for Twitter.’
Other analysts agreed.
“Tesla investors are likely to celebrate this move too, with Musk’s very hands-on approach at Twitter leading to concerns he had taken his eye off the ball at this EV giant,” Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Sophie Lund-Yates toldReuters.
“This is a fractional positive for Tesla shareholders because he will likely spend a little bit more time on Tesla,” said Gene Munster, managing partner at Deepwater Asset Management during an interview with CNBC. “However, there are other things that are competing for his time.”