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FutureStarrWhat Makes Linda Yaccarino the Velvet Hammer of the Ad World?
Elon Musk surprised many when he announced Linda Yaccarino as Twitter's new CEO, due to her deep connections within Madison Avenue and potential ability to entice advertisers back onto Twitter's platform. Yaccarino oversees NBCUniversal's global, national and local advertising sales teams; global partnerships marketing; data initiatives; strategic initiatives teams as well as her tough negotiating abilities - known in the industry as "the velvet hammer". 1. She’s a tough negotiator Yaccarino has made her mark in Manhattan media circles as the "Velvet Hammer." Her negotiating abilities could come in handy at Twitter, where the company needs to win back trust among advertisers who had abandoned it after Elon Musk took control. Yaccarino led NBCUniversal's advertising sales division for 11 years and oversaw its global reach. Her team reportedly generated more than $100 billion in ad sales while forging partnerships with numerous new media companies like Snapchat, YouTube, Apple News and Buzzfeed - as well as leading the launch of Peacock digital streaming service by NBCUniversal. Her most impressive accomplishment was likely her work to streamline ad sales at the media giant. Her team created a centralized sales platform so that "everyone talks to every buyer the same way" according to US trade publication Adweek; this move allowed buyers to gain leverage with sellers by having them pitch to them all simultaneously rather than in separate teams. She was also a prominent leader in the television industry's push for innovative ways of measuring viewership, particularly Nielsen ad deals which had long been the basis of TV ad deals and called on competitors to form alliances to discuss alternatives. Her experience could provide Twitter with invaluable guidance as it tackles issues related to measurement transparency and brand safety. 2. She’s a visionary Yaccarino has built her career around being one step ahead. As one of the first media executives to advocate for alternatives to Nielsen ratings - long used as the standard metric in TV ad sales - she also advocates for diversity initiatives to advance equality in the workplace. Since her joining NBCUniversal in 2011, this executive has been at the forefront of streaming media. Her current position encompasses oversight for global and domestic advertising sales, partnerships, advanced technology teams, insight measurement teams and business marketing. Under her direction, her team generated more than $100 billion in ad revenues under her tenure and she led Peacock's launch as an ad-supported streaming service with massive investments into data and technology capabilities. Yaccarino faces the task of rebuilding trust among advertisers following Twitter's turbulent transition under Elon Musk as its owner, as some marketers have pulled ads following his dismissal of Fox News host Tucker Carlson and plans to redesign social networks such as Myspace and Vine. Yaccarino could prove herself as an adept leader if she can rebuild trust among marketers and help Twitter return to profitability. Her experience leading some of the world's leading media brands may provide her with an edge as CEO; her strong work ethic makes her ideal for her new position. 3. She’s a strategic thinker Yaccarino stands out as an asset to her employer thanks to her ability to think creatively and find unconventional methods of making money. For example, she has successfully negotiated multi-billion dollar contracts with major advertisers like Procter & Gamble and General Motors, while developing new ad formats for digital and mobile platforms. Yaccarino is also widely recognized for her strong commitment to diversity and inclusion within media industry - initiating various initiatives at her own company to support these values. Yaccarino serves as Chairman of Global Advertising Sales and Partnerships at NBCUniversal's $70 billion premium video ecosystem, comprising linear networks, streaming platforms, distribution partners and client relationships. Her 2,000-member team brings in over $100 billion each year as they expand the company globally, establish groundbreaking ad partnerships and invest in data technology capabilities. Yaccarino is known for her extensive experience in the ad business as well as her outspoken views on important industry matters, including Nielsen ratings that form the basis for many TV ad deals and her push for new methods of measuring viewers - she frequently speaks at conferences about these subjects. As Twitter CEO, Yaccarino will face daunting challenges. She must regain the trust of advertisers who fled after Elon Musk took control. But Yaccarino is well-prepared to tackle these obstacles and bring profitability back into social media giant. 4. She’s a savvy negotiator Linda Yaccarino's decision to leave NBCUniversal Advertising Sales Operations and take on Twitter as its new Head of Ad Sales Operations was met with surprise from within the industry, where she had long been considered a standout figure. According to TheWrap's previous reports, this US media executive earned herself the nickname of the Velvet Hammer from Manhattan media professionals due to her tough ad sales battles and reputation as an aggressive figure. Her NBCU team has generated more than $100 billion in ad sales since she joined in 2011, according to her bio. She led global advertising and partnerships teams, local advertising sales teams and strategic initiatives teams at NBCUniversal; additionally she was instrumental in the launch of Peacock, their ad-supported streaming service. Yaccarino has played an instrumental role in streamlining the advertising marketplace with her innovative unified platform and first-party identity data strategy, as well as developing strong ties within the advertising community through high-profile campaigns like Pope Francis' Covid-19 vaccine promotion campaign. Twitter may benefit greatly if Yaccarino can use her skills as an experienced negotiator to regain advertisers, who have abandoned the struggling social media giant since its takeover by Elon Musk's X Corp last year. Her background in advertising should help her navigate its perils - specifically related to misinformation and hate speech issues - more successfully; Business Insider's Claire Atkinson notes that Yaccarino could just be what's needed to regain marketer trust. 5. She’s a strategic thinker Yaccarino has become renowned in Manhattan media circles for her aggressive negotiating techniques. US trade paper AdWeek once described her as the Velvet Hammer and she has earned herself the reputation as a strategist, keeping up with emerging trends in digital advertising. Yaccarino is also a thought leader on social issues and known for using her influence to advocate for change. As the chair of advertising sales and partnerships for NBCUniversal, she has used her platform to establish programs such as BOLD for employing veterans, #ShesMy for supporting women and girls on television as well as working with Target and Scene in Color to elevate emerging BIPOC film creatives. In addition, she served a two-year term as chair of Ad Council non-profit; worked closely with the White House and government agencies on creating COVID-19 vaccination campaign featuring Pope Francis; served two-year term chair of Ad Council non-profit; worked alongside White House agencies and government agencies on developing COVID-19 vaccination campaign and serves on World Economic Forum task force dedicated to work issues related to work - all while serving on World Economic Forum taskforce on future of work issues. Yaccarino brings with her an impressive track record and ability to bring in revenue streams, which will make her an effective CEO of Twitter. Her ability to build rapport with advertisers will be essential as she works to restore ad sales after Musk's controversial takeover. She could face an uphill climb as CEO. Analysts expect she can restore Twitter to financial health, yet her appointment has angered some of its most vocal critics - particularly the online conspiracy theorist community - with views about free speech and her support of Musk having caused significant offence to some members. Yaccarino pledged to make Twitter "an open, safe place for all", so only time will tell how she manages any potential backlash she may encounter during her tenure as Twitter's top ad executive.