Elon Musk and Linda Yaccarino
Fewer than 10% of Fortune 500 tech companies are headed by women. AFP/Getty Images/Chandan Khanna

Elon Musk has announced he has appointed a new CEO of Twitter. The controversial billionaire, who bought Twitter last year in a deal worth $44bn (£35bn, is also the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla.

Since his purchase of Twitter, Mr Musk has been under pressure to name someone else to lead the company and focus on his other businesses.

In December last year, Twitter users voted in favour of Elon Musk stepping down as the platform's chief executive after the billionaire ran a poll on his future. A total of 57.5 per cent voted "yes" after Mr Musk asked his 122 million followers whether he should stand down.

Now, it appears Musk has succumbed to the will of the people, by naming Linda Yaccarino, the former head of advertising at NBCUniversal, as the new Twitter CEO.

Musk said that Yaccarino will focus primarily on business operations, while he would continue working on product design & new technology. He added that he was "looking forward to working with Linda to transform this platform into X, the everything app."

So who is Linda Yaccarino?

Well, she'll become a rare example of a woman at the top of a major tech firm, after rising steadily through the ranks of some of America's biggest media companies.

Born into a family with Italian roots, Yaccarino has spent her career in television, 20 years of it with the Time Warner group that has since become known as Warner Brothers Discovery.

Throughout her career, she has built relationships with major brands, finding opportunities for product placement and convincing them to advertise alongside television shows.

She has also developed partnerships in new media with the likes of Apple News, Snapchat and YouTube.

According to Business Insider's Claire Atkinson, Yaccarino "is the kind of person Musk needs" as she "won't be rolled over".

"If Twitter is looking to monetise better than they have been, then Linda would be the ideal person to make that happen," the chief media correspondent said.

Since Musk acquired Twitter, he has overseen major changes in the company's structure.

Just days after taking over the media page, he sacked half of Twitter's workforce, about 3,750 people, and hundreds more left weeks later after the Tesla CEO demanded that staff commit to being "hardcore" or leave.

Musk said in December that his cost-cutting drive meant Twitter was "not on the fast lane to bankruptcy any more" but he has continued to take action on costs in 2023.

As well as firing an additional 200 people in February, Musk relaunched Twitter Blue, a premium service offering a verified account, in an attempt to boost the company's revenue.

So far, the take-up of the service seems low, with about 600,000 to 635,000 subscribers, according to one estimate, out of a user base of more than 250 million people. That represents a monthly income of about $5m a month - nowhere near enough to offset Twitter's advertising slump.

Musk will be hoping that Yaccinro's background in advertising and sales will help provide a welcome boost to a company swamped in debt and clouded by controversy.

Although he confirmed Yaccarino will not begin her new role for at least 6 weeks, the appointment has been welcomed by investors of Musk's other business ventures.

Musk Tweet
Musk declared he would resign as Twitter CEO after an online poll voted in favour of his departure. Elon Musk: Twitter

Immediately after the announcement, Tesla shares rose in value.

"We ultimately view this as a major step forward with Musk finally reading the room that has been around this Twitter nightmare," said Dan Ives from investment firm Wedbush Securities.

"Trying to balance Twitter, Tesla and SpaceX as CEOs is an impossible task that needed to change," he said.

There has also been some initial scepticism at Ms Yaccarino's appointment on social media, where some users referenced her previous roles as an indication of her political views, which supposedly lean Conservative.

For example, her work for the World Economic Forum has not been well-received in some quarters, along with her appearance in a coronavirus vaccination campaign, which featured Pope Francis.

Others on the left have questioned her political involvement, citing her role in a White House sports, fitness and nutrition council under former President Donald Trump.

In a statement issued by her former employer NBCUniversal, Yaccarino declined to comment on why she was leaving her role with the company. Instead, she said it had been an "absolute honour" to "lead the most incredible team" at the media corporation. She further stated: "We've transformed our company and the entire industry — and I am so proud of what we've accomplished together."