According to four persons with knowledge of the conversations, Linda Yaccarino, 60, has spoken with several of Twitter’s advertisers about objectionable content on the website. She hasn’t, however, gone out and actively haggled with advertisers to raise Twitter’s earnings.
Elon Musk stated he was “excited” to recruit Linda Yaccarino as Twitter’s CEO last month and that she would “focus primarily on business operations.”
But Yaccarino, the former chief of advertising at NBCUniversal, has been stopped from working on a crucial aspect of what she was hired to do: solicit advertising for Twitter, less than three weeks into her new position.
According to four persons with knowledge of the conversations, Yaccarino, 60, has spoken with several of Twitter’s advertisers about objectionable content on the website. She hasn’t, however, gone out and actively haggled with advertisers to raise Twitter’s earnings.
That’s because, according to three individuals familiar with the situation, Yaccarino was prohibited by a contract with NBCUniversal from working on advertising deals that would compete with those of her old employer, at least initially.
As Yaccarino adjusts to her new position and reports to a new boss, everything is part of the adjustment process. She spent decades working for New York-based traditional media outlets before joining Musk, who acquired Twitter last year, to help run a social media firm with headquarters in San Francisco.
Yaccarino has avoided negotiating advertising contracts in favor of mending at least one relationship, that between Twitter and Google, speaking with regulators, and concentrating on employee morale. Her efforts to motivate staff members with mission statements and improved internal communication have included hosting happy hours.
She stated last month in her first company-wide email, which The New York Times received, “Twitter is on a mission to become the world’s most accurate real-time information source and a global town square for communication.” “We’re about to make history,” someone said.
Linda Yaccarino, a longtime power player on Madison Avenue, was not accessible for an interview thanks to Twitter. One of her close friends claimed the noncompete only applied to her first few weeks at Twitter, and another claimed it was challenging for NBCUniversal to enforce. It was not apparent when the clause would expire.
An inquiry for a response from Musk was not answered.
Yaccarino took over as CEO of Twitter on June 5. The veteran New Yorker and native of Long Island tweeted a picture of the Manhattan skyline two days earlier with the caption, “Bay Area views coming soon!” She went to Twitter with at least one NBCUniversal coworker.
Three employees said that Musk had not made a statement about Yaccarino’s appointment at Twitter to the entire business. Instead, Yaccarino’s appointment was listed after an update about a new feature for advertisers in an email sent to the company’s sales team before to her start date.
Yaccarino promptly tweeted a positive message.
On June 12, she discussed the condition of Twitter’s advertising at an internal ad sales meeting. Musk had taken down the site’s security barriers, allowing false information and harmful content to proliferate while discouraging advertisers. The company’s revenue from U.S. advertising has decreased by about 60%, and Musk has stated that he anticipates revenue to be around $3 billion this year, down from $5.1 billion in 2021.
According to meeting audio that the Times received, Yaccarino acknowledged that some “big brands” had stayed away from the platform and that she and other sales representatives would have to engage in “hand-to-hand combat” to encourage them to return. She omitted to mention that she was unable to speak with clients about ad arrangements at the time.
Yaccarino also declared that she would disagree with Musk’s contentious relationship with the media. She explained her goal as being to “have very good relationships with them so they become our advocates or mouthpieces to amplify our strategies.”
But Yaccarino also made it obvious that she was aware of the situation’s hierarchy. Musk was not present, so she referred to him as “the boss.”
Two days later, Yaccarino and Musk attended a meeting in San Francisco with Twitter’s financiers and investors, according to a source with knowledge of the proceedings. Together, they discussed how the company will increase its emphasis on video, collaborate with influencers and news providers, and incorporate payment options. Earlier, Reuters covered the presentation.
Yaccarino was prevented from participating in significant advertising negotiations by the NBC noncompete provision, but she managed to keep herself occupied.
Yaccarino had gone on “a kind of fact-finding tour,” according to David Cohen, the CEO of the trade organization Interactive Advertising Bureau. He said, “She’s definitely listening,” and added that she is using her connections in the advertising sector to learn Twitter’s position on topics like how to separate ads from bad content.
However, on June 16, when one of the biggest ad agencies in the world, Publicis Groupe, held a conference in Paris, its chair had an interview with Musk without Yaccarino, who was in San Francisco. Musk had lunch with Bernard Arnault, the founder of LVMH, the largest luxury company in the world and a significant advertiser, during the trip.
Yaccarino also skipped last week’s Cannes Lions advertising festival, a glamorous networking event on the French Riviera that is sometimes seen as the pinnacle of the calendar for the advertising industry. In comparison to prior years, Twitter dramatically reduced its spending and presence there.
Nevertheless, Yaccarino tweeted that she was looking for comments from people who were at Cannes. She wrote, “I’m here for ALL of it!”
She had stayed at the Twitter office in San Francisco, where she had welcomed a group of representatives from the European Union, including Commissioner Thierry Breton. The panel was evaluating Twitter’s content moderation systems’ compliance with the Digital Services Act, a recent European law that makes social media companies accountable for policing illegal content and misinformation. It becomes effective in August.
Yaccarino has achieved success in a few areas, including assisting in the repair of Twitter’s partnership with Google. When Twitter partially stopped paying Google for cloud computing services under Musk, the relationship deteriorated. According to an internal memo acquired by the Times, Twitter was trying to discontinue using Google’s products by the end of June and owed Google more than $42 million in unpaid fees.
According to a person familiar with the conversation, Yaccarino spoke to Thomas Kurian, the CEO of Google Cloud, this month to settle the problem and ordered the payment paid. According to the source, she also convinced Musk to accept the new developments.
Google chose not to respond. Prior to this, Bloomberg News claimed that Twitter had started paying Google again.
Yaccarino has also made an effort to engage with Twitter’s workers more, which has decreased by more than 75% as a result of layoffs and other departures since Musk purchased the business. A replica of one of her inspirational tweets about “wearing 4-inch heels” while working as an executive was framed by Twitter and displayed in the San Francisco office’s eating room. Additionally, she has hosted four happy hours there and in New York. She has also held happy hours there and in New York, four current and former employees said.
Two of those people said that she had a contagious optimism throughout their interactions. Yaccarino stated in her presentation with the sales staff last month that Twitter has an “opportunity that comes out of being challenged the last bunch of months.”
She asked, “Lead me in the right direction.” “I am aware of the necessary steps.”