Big news for Twitter 2.0, with Twitter owner Elon Musk announcing that a new CEO will be taking over from him at the app in 6 weeks.
Excited to announce that I’ve hired a new CEO for X/Twitter. She will be starting in ~6 weeks!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2023
My role will transition to being exec chair & CTO, overseeing product, software & sysops.
Note the mention of ‘X’, Elon’s ambitious, yet extremely vague, ‘everything app’ project, which he hopes to transform Twitter into at some stage.
Many have been calling for Musk to step aside and let somebody else take over at the app. A poll conducted by Musk back in December, which garnered 17.5 million responses, indicated that Twitter users would prefer to have a different person in charge.
Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 18, 2022
Musk’s rapid and rash changes at the app, including the firing of some 80% of its staff, have had many concerned that the platform will experience more problems over time, as its systems go unchecked, and deteriorate under increased strain. Thus far, Musk and Co. have avoided any major catastrophes, but it’s impossible to say whether that’s luck, behind the scenes scrambling, or more efficient staff management that’s enabled relative stability.
At the same time, Musk has also implemented his controversial $8 verification plan, which has led to a raft of problems for the app, while advertising revenue has also declined by 50%, as more brands reconsider their Twitter spend due to changes in policy around free speech.
A new CEO could help to right the ship on these fronts - though you would also expect that Elon would have hand-picked his replacement in order to enact his broader vision, which will likely see it stay the course in these key areas.
Musk’s announcement, more likely, is designed to ease Tesla shareholder concerns, many of whom believe that Musk is spending too much time focusing on Twitter issues. Indeed, Tesla shares jumped following Musk’s tweet.
The Twitter CEO role is a big one to take on, and regaining advertiser trust will be no small feat. And Musk is also likely to remain very involved in activity at the app, which could see this new person put under a lot of pressure to perform very quickly.
Will they be up to the task? Will they meet Elon’s expectations?
It’ll be a significant shift either way, which could lead to at least some change in direction at the app.
UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal has reported that NBCUniversal’s current head of advertising Linda Yaccarino is the person that's been tapped to take over from Musk at Twitter. Yaccarino has been at NBCUniversal for more than a decade, where she's sought to implement more effective systems for ad measurement. Yaccarino is also, apparently an advocate for more stringent age restrictions on social media usage.
UPDATE: Musk has now confirmed Yaccarino's appointment as Twtter CEO.