NBCUniversal Forced to Present Upfronts Without New Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino and Met With WGA Protesters

By Andy Lalwani
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(Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for The Girls' Lounge)
The NBCUniversal team proceeded their upfront without the former head

Billionaire Elon Musk tweeted that a woman would be taking over his role as CEO for Twitter. The move came as a shock to many as Yaccarino was named for the role while leading her role at NBCUniversal. The company was set to kick off upfronts with Yaccarino as a presenter for the event.

Signs read outside Radio City Music Hall read, “We are not in ‘Severance,’” “Here’s a pitch: PAY US!,” “Don’t Piss on My Legs and Tell Me It’s Streaming,” as well as “Who wants to watch ‘The Real Housewives of David Zaslav’?” The WGA strike was notably present despite the former lead of advertising missing at the upfronts.

Protesters outside the NBC 2023-24 upfronts presentation
Protesters outside the NBC 2023-24 upfronts presentation Photo from: Tony Maglio

Behind The New Twitter CEO

Twitter has been the hot topic of conversation for quite some time now. Since tech mogul Elon Musk purchased the public platform last year, the stock and value of the company has been dropping substantially. And back in December of 2022, Musk posted a Twitter poll asking if he should step down as CEO after the platform took a nose dive after taking on his new role. 

Elon actually posted the poll with 57% favoring the mogul stepping down, and he said he would abide by the results. 

Musk noted that he would “resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job!” He also stated that he would just “run the software and servers team” once stepping down as well. 

When the announcement came in, Yaccarino was reportedly working through large presentations for the upfronts when she had to step down immediately due to the conflict of interest with her current role at NBC. 

After the Friday announcement and when the dust settled, Yaccarino responded to Elon’s announcement Tweet stating “Thank you @elonmusk. I’ve long been inspired by your vision to create a brighter future. I’m excited to help bring this vision to Twitter and transform this business together!”

According to Musk, the 60-year-old former executive at NBC will also be starting in just six weeks. 

In a second tweet, Yaccarino wrote “I see I have some new followers… I’m not as prolific as [Musk] (yet!), but I’m just as committed to the future of this platform. Your feedback is VITAL to that future. I’m here for all of it. Let’s keep the conversation going and build Twitter 2.0 together!

Some people have called Yaccarino foolish for stepping into the role as Musk has run the platform to the ground in some people’s opinions. Others feel that she is the only person fit for the job, and some argue she just made the worst mistake of her career. 

Linda Yaccarino and Previous Experience

Yaccarino was previously NBCUniversal’s head of advertising. She is taking on this role with qualifications that could be more than important for the platform’s future and success. According to CBS New back in November of 2022, half of Twitter’s top advertiser’s appeared to leave the platform within a month of Musk’s takeover, which cut nearly $750 million dollars in revenue. 

However, Yaccarino was considered to be quite the powerhouse in her role with NBCUniversal

Linda Yaccarino, NBCUniversal
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 23: Linda Yaccarino speaks onstage during Seat At The Table on March 23, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for The Female Quotient )

Although asked to leave her position effective immediately, some considered her to be so influential at work that some mimicked her mannerisms and even her fashion sense. Known for her colorful power suits and thick framed glasses, Fortune reported that seven unnamed sources who worked with Yaccarino in the past painted a picture of someone “that can both inspire and terrify the people who work for her”

Yacarino’s move now adds to the near 50 women who are in CEO positions.  According to the Fortune 500, there are only 10% of women in these top positions.

These sources also went on to name the leader as “tough” in the workplace and even stood up to a lot of misogyny. 

Even back in April, Yaccarino appeared at a Miami conference to interview Musk on his plans for the new era of Twitter. 

Quizzing Musk on many hard questions and controversial tweets, many noted that there was chemistry there now looking back. Some even speculated she was putting herself in the running as the new CEO of Twitter at that time.

In the end, NBCUniversal has been left to work on their upfronts for advertisers without Yaccarino.