Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of X, has firmly countered accusations that she is merely a passive observer in her role while working alongside the assertive entrepreneur Elon Musk.
In a candid exchange that transpired during an interview at Vox’s Code Conference, Yaccarino addressed concerns about her leadership, marking a tense dialogue concerning her partnership with the famously controlling billionaire.
The exchange unfolded when CNBC’s Julia Boorstin queried whether Yaccarino was functioning as a “CEO in name only.” Yaccarino responded by stating, “I’m not sure what your definition of — or how you want to kind of wiggle me into an answer of: ‘Are you just a COO.'”
Boorstin referred to remarks made by both Musk and Yaccarino, indicating that Musk intends to oversee the engineering aspect of the company, formerly known as Twitter, while Yaccarino concentrates on the business and advertising facets. Boorstin expressed concerns that, due to the product team’s reporting structure at Meta, Yaccarino might be perceived as having a more limited role as CEO.
Yaccarino responded firmly, asserting, “Yeah, not nice,” and added, “He runs technology. He leads a team of exceptionally talented engineers. I don’t care what the structure is at Meta, but who wouldn’t want Elon Musk sitting by their side running product?” Her comments elicited laughter from the audience.
Notably, Elon Musk has a reputation for being challenging to work with. Observers have described moments when he exhibits intense and demanding behavior. However, Yaccarino insisted that she has only experienced Musk as supportive.
Boorstin also inquired whether Yaccarino was privy to Musk’s decisions, including his recent suggestion of potentially charging all users a subscription fee. Yaccarino framed her role by asking whether Musk brought her in to head advertising or overseeing the company to ensure the best possible user experience.
Yaccarino’s appearance at the conference came shortly after the inclusion of Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth, who had left the company after Musk’s takeover. Roth had previously spoken out about content moderation on the platform and claimed he had to leave his home earlier in the year after Musk released the “Twitter Files.”
Yaccarino acknowledged the unexpected nature of Roth’s appearance but emphasized that she and Roth did not know each other. She highlighted the differences in the philosophies and ideologies between X and Twitter regarding free expression and freedom of speech.
Before joining X, Linda Yaccarino held the position of chairman of advertising sales and client partnerships at NBCUniversal. Reports indicate that she has faced challenges in asserting her leadership and distinguishing herself in her role alongside Elon Musk.