Women in Tech

Twitter’s new CEO becomes a rare Fortune 500 woman in tech

22nd May 2023
Sheryl Miles

Anyone who takes on the role as Twitter’s CEO would be “foolish” because the job will be a “painful” one Musk told the world in a post – ahead of appointing Linda Yaccarino into the position.

Six months after Musk bought Twitter in a $44 billion takeover, Yaccarino, a veteran in media and advertising, will officially start her new position in June, with her LinkedIn profile already showing her as Twitter’s CEO.

In a celebratory tweet of their collaboration, Musk said: “I am excited to welcome Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of Twitter! [Linda Yaccarino] will focus primarily on business operations, while I focus on product design and new technology. Looking forward to working with Linda to transform this platform into X, the everything app.”

This appointment means that Yaccarino is now one of the few women who is at the head of a major tech firm, with just 41 out of 500 people from the Fortune 500 tech companies list that are women – that is just over 8%.

Perhaps the confidence that Musk has so publicly shown in Yaccarino will act as a much-needed platform to raise even more public awareness on females at the helm and the power of diversity within a healthy functioning workplace.

Having been in the industry for more than three decades, it is hoped that with all the experience Yaccarino has to offer, and her understanding of Musk’s vision, that she will be the one to bridge the divide between Twitter and its former advertisers after relations were tested when Musk took over the company, fired a majority of the workforce, and relaxed its content moderation policies.

In reaction to the negative connotations building up against Twitter, the appointment of Yaccarino has been lauded as a smart move by Musk – but with his advocation of complete freedom of speech verses Yaccarino’s more tactile approach, the task ahead may not be an easy one, and the key to this partnership may be all about balance.

And it seems that this tactile approach is already being put to use, with the industry veteran looking for ways to improve relations between Twitter’s reputation and advertisers – starting with Musk himself, after it was reported that she had taken Musk to one side and advised him not to post after 3am as the announcements attract a lot of scrutiny from regulators. However, Musk is said to remain an ardent supporter of complete freedom of speech.

Despite this, it is Yaccarino who will be the one to carry Musk’s vision of the future forward by transitioning the platform into X, ‘the everything app,’ of which Musk says that buying Twitter is the accelerant for its creation.

The everything app is envisioned to be an all-encompassing way to pay, interact, and shop. These apps are already popular in Asia, where users can send money to friends and family, hail taxis, and purchase goods. One app in China is even experimenting with tying a user’s ID with their account as a way to electronically confirm a person’s identity.

How comfortable this will sit with people and the privacy regulations it entails remain to be seen. However, what is clear is that it will be an interesting and challenging journey for Yaccarino.

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