Linda Yaccarino’s onstage appearance with Elon Musk at a recent marketing conference in Miami Beach amounted to a job interview that eventually netted her the role of Twitter’s new chief executive, according to one observer who noted the “chemistry” between the two.
Yaccarino, the head of advertising sales for NBCUniversal who has agreed to step in as Twitter CEO, peppered Musk with questions about his stewardship of the social media company during the April 18 “Possible” summit.
“There was chemistry there,” Lou Paskalis, the CEO of marketing consultancy firm AJL Advisory who has been a client of Yaccarino’s for 35 years, told Fortune.
Yaccarino was picked to interview Musk as part of a talk that was headlined “Twitter 2.0: From Conversations to Partnership.”
During their chat, Yaccarino referred to Musk as her “buddy.” She also admitted to being “obsessed” and “fascinated” by Musk’s acquisition and takeover of Twitter.
The Miami Beach confab was seen as Musk’s attempt to make peace with advertisers who were spooked by his newly implemented policies on content moderation that were put in place after the Tesla mogul acquired the social media site for $44 billion last October.
Linda Yaccarino, Twitter’s new CEO, interviewed Elon Musk at a conference in Miami Beach last month.
Observers noted that Yaccarino did not hold back and asked Musk tough questions about his tweeting habits.
“I have to push you a little because there’s a lot of folks in this room, they vote with their pocketbooks,” Yaccarino told Musk on April 18.
She pressed Musk on his tweets in which he expressed disdain for “cancel culture” and mocked pronouns used by transgender and non-binary individuals.
Yaccarino told Musk that advertisers who were in attendance in Miami Beach were “holding back” from doing business on Twitter.
Yaccarino last week departed NBCUniversal to take up the CEO position at Twitter.
“What do you say to them in this room?” Yaccarino asked Musk, who replied that his tweets should be viewed as “sarcastic” or a “joke.”
At another point in the interview, Yaccarino grilled Musk about his late-night tweeting habits.
“You’ve said you probably shouldn’t tweet after 3 a.m.,” Yaccarino said.
“Will you commit to being a little more specific and not tweet after 3 a.m.?”
Observers at the Miami Beach conference noted the “chemistry” between Musk and Yaccarino.REUTERS
Those who know Yaccarino described her as a “tough” Italian woman — a “Long Island lady” — who “can both inspire and terrify” her employees.
Yaccarino reportedly inspires loyalty and confidence from her most devoted subordinates — who in turn are rewarded by being invited to intense SoulCycle sessions, according to Fortune.
Her critics allege that she shows favoritism to the employees that she likes by rewarding them with promotions even though they weren’t deserving.
Yaccarino is known as a hard-charging ad executive who developed sharp elbows while climbing the ranks of a male-dominated industry.udo salters photography / BACKGRID
One source told Fortune that she developed sharp elbows in a male-dominated industry, enabling her to rise through the ranks at NBC.
“She stood up to a lot of misogyny. She stood up to a lot of men,“ one source who worked with her told Fortune.
“There’s nothing demure about her.”
Yaccarino is also reportedly known for her staunchly pro-Republican political views.
In 2018, then-President Donald Trump appointed her to his President’s Council on Sport, Fitness, and Nutrition.
But Paskalis told Fortune that Yaccarino keeps her views “fairly private.” He also predicted that she will be a force of moderation who will show more restraint compared to the freewheeling Musk.
”She’ll probably be able to temper [Musk’s] enthusiasm for extreme commentary, but introduce more balance,” Paskalis said.