"This couldn't have happened at a worse time."
Learning you're fired via tweet is one thing — but learning that you're about to take over as the CEO of Twitter from an Elon Musk post is another entirely.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of the social network now known as X, admitted that she was somewhat blindsided when Musk tweeted in May that she'd been named chief executive and would "be starting in [around] six weeks!"
According to FT's sources, Yaccarino had agreed to take the position but needed to wrap some things at NBCUniversal first just hours before Musk's announcement, but she hadn't expected him to make it public so soon. She also hadn't told her employer, where she was the head of global advertising at the time, that she would be leaving.
The move sounds characteristic of Musk's infamously chaotic leadership style, which often involves throwing out the rulebook entirely. That kind of approach often comes at the cost of his employees, who are left to pick up the pieces after being blindsided by him.
When Musk posted the abrupt news, the former NBC executive had reportedly been in the middle of finalizing a massive presentation set to take place at New York's famous Radio City Music Hall. When she saw the tweet, she pulled her deputy Joe Benarroch aside and showed it to him.
"We need to leave the building," Benarroch whispered. "Right now."
Though the president of Comcast, NBC's parent company, supported Yaccarino when she told him the news, her hastily-announced departure put the company in a tailspin. As one NBC ad executive told Insider shortly after the news dropped, Yaccarino's exit was like the "Cuban missile crisis."
"This couldn't have happened at a worse time," the senior staffer, who was not named but was said to work closely with Yaccarino, revealed.
If things were bad at NBC when she left, however, they've only been worse since she took over the reins, at least ceremonially, at X-formerly-Twitter.
Though Yaccarino appeared to maintain her now-characteristic cheery disposition throughout the exchanges FT published, she said the visibility and pressure associated with running this iteration of the social network have taken their toll.
"The thing that weighs on me a great deal is the pressure and the burden of the intense and relentless public scrutiny," the CEO said. "I don’t know if any human being could anticipate or prepare for that."
"It’s hard," Yaccarino admitted. "It’s hard on me. It’s hard on my family, my children, my parents, and that, I would say, in the first 100 days is a continual learning process to balance that."
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