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Yaccarino's Selection: Great For Her, Twitter, And Female Executives

I was thrilled to learn last week that Elon Musk was naming NBCU’s Linda Yaccarino CEO of Twitter. R2 Media has been sourcing media from NBC Universal since 2010, and I have always found the organization to be the gold standard when it comes to media companies. I guess that’s one of the reasons I chose to start my career there. I attribute much of the good inside NBC Universal to Linda Yaccarino. (For the record, I was always a big Steve Burke fan as well.)

R2 Media has worked with Twitter for the last 10 years and while Twitter is a great communications platform it has always had advertising problems — obviously, the site’s advertising problems didn’t go away when Elon Musk acquired the site in November, 2022. I am hopeful that some of the technology changes made to the site since the acquisition will improve upon the site’s spotty campaign performance. Now that Yaccarino is on board we will find out.

Yaccarino has one of the loudest voices on Madison Avenue, and a loud voice is needed to bring advertising back to the platform. Yaccarino has the ability to get to all the right people and reframe the Twitter discussion. The last time we saw anything like this, in my opinion, was back in 2004 when social media was in its infancy. You may recall, in early 2005 everyone in the advertising business thought of “user generated content” as something that was untouchable. By the end of 2005, after a bunch of smart guys from Santa Monica, CA reframed the UGC discussion, social media marketing became the rage. Of course, I am talking about Chris and Tom and the executive team at Myspace.

As a long-time female CEO, I encourage Yaccarino to stay true to herself as she embarks upon this new role. After all, she is the person Musk hired for the job. She should immediatately hashout the Twitter value proposition and attack the advertising market as only she can. While it will take time for Yaccarino’s efforts to yield positive results -- because budgets are largely locked for the balance of the year -- she has no time to waste… with strategic planning for 2024 beginning for most large advertisers in a few short weeks.

It’s easy to get lost in the CEO stuff when you assume the role — it’s easy to focus on talent and culture and it’s real easy to become the CHRO — and I hope she steers clear of that stuff at the onset. I hope Yaccarino lets what has worked for her in the past work for her at Twitter; and once it has, she can branch out from there.

When Yaccarino officially becomes Twitter CEO (if she is not already), she will be joining a relatively small group of corner office executives. Most people in business today know of Mary Barra of General Motors, Jane Fraser of Citigroup, and Lisa Su of Advanced Micro Devices, and because of these well known female CEOs it would be easy for some to assume that women are well represented in the corner office. But they are not; today there are only 47 women CEOs running Fortune 500 companies. While that 9% showing is abysmal, the rate of change is somewhat notable. Before 2020 women CEOs were running only 5% of the Fortune 500 and before 2015 they were running only 2% of it.

While R2 Media is known as an omnichannel and multicultural advertising agency, many people may not know that diversity, equity and inclusion are central tenets of our organization. Our staff is comprised of 60 percent women, and as such, Yaccarino becoming CEO of Twitter is important to us. We also believe in women in boardrooms, women in technology, gender and pay parity, and women in the pipeline.


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