Linda Yaccarino to Depart NBCUniversal, in Talks for Twitter CEO

NBCUniversal announced Friday morning that its longtime advertising chief, Linda Yaccarino, was leaving effective immediately, fueling speculation that she was on her way to lead Twitter.

Elon Musk is in talks to hire Ms. Yaccarino as chief executive of Twitter, two people with knowledge of the matter said. The talks are at an advanced stage, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the conversations are confidential.

Ms. Yaccarino has been in discussions with Mr. Musk for weeks, they said. Last month, Ms. Yaccarino interviewed Mr. Musk onstage at an advertising event in Miami.

“We are grateful for Linda Yaccarino’s leadership of NBCUniversal’s advertising sales business, and for the innovative team and platform she has built,” said Mike Cavanagh, who has been running NBCUniversal. “Linda has made countless contributions to the company during her 12-year tenure, and we wish her the best.”

Ms. Yaccarino said in a statement, “It has been an absolute honor to be part of Comcast NBCUniversal and lead the most incredible team.”

Mr. Musk had said on Thursday that he had selected a chief executive for Twitter but did not identify the executive. In a tweet, he said “she will be starting in ~6 weeks!” He added that he would remain involved as executive chair and “C.T.O.,” which typically denotes chief technology officer, and that he would still oversee Twitter’s product and software.

Mr. Musk, who bought Twitter for $44 billion last year, will retain a firm grip on the company even if he names a chief executive. As Twitter’s owner, he has put his stamp on it by eliminating more than 75 percent of its 7,500 employees, installing his own leaders and changing the service’s features and strategy. He also took Twitter private, which means he does not have to disclose corporate information to the public.

NBCUniversal’s sudden announcement comes weeks after NBCUniversal abruptly let go its chief executive, and just days away from the company’s biggest showcase for advertisers.