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Musk’s X replaces key executive – FT

A senior manager was sacked amid mounting pressure from the owner over the platform’s financial health, the newspaper says

The CEO of X, Linda Yaccarino, fired the head of business operations and communications, Joe Benarroch, earlier this month, the FT reported on Sunday, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

The step reportedly comes amid mounting tensions with the company’s owner Elon Musk, who has been pressing Yaccarino to boost sales and cut costs a year after she was appointed to the position of chief executive.

Benarroch, who joined the X team a year ago, had previously served as executive vice president of communications, global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, where Yaccarino held the position of CEO before Musk poached her.

According to two X employees as cited by FT, Benarroch lost his position for bungling the launch of the platform’s renewed adult content policies after failing to inform clients about the changes before the issue became public.

Earlier this month, the company officially allowed pornographic content on its platform but said that it would block adult and violent posts from being seen by users under 18 or those who do not opt-in to see such content.

The sources also told FT that Benarroch’s responsibilities will be taken over by the company’s global government affairs head Nick Pickles, whose duties have been temporarily expanded to cover managing global communications.

People familiar with the company’s internal processes said the latest shake-up is seen as a promotion for Pickles, who was with the company before Musk took it over in 2022. Last year, CNBC reported, citing internal records, that nearly 80% of former Twitter employees left the company after the billionaire purchased it.

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Yaccarino, who became CEO in May 2023 had been “increasingly nervous,” a senior staffer said, adding that Musk piled pressure on her to increase revenues and cut expenses. One of the ways of achieving that is sacking staff from the US and UK sales teams and reducing spending on such items as travel, according to the article. 

The latest changes were related to regular performance management reviews, people within the company say. Earlier this month, Yaccarino reportedly called for concentrating on “performance management.”

Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported, citing financial documents shared by X with regulators, that the company’s business has been struggling since Musk’s takeover. The platform reportedly generated $1.48 billion in revenue in the first six months of 2023, down almost 40% from the same period in 2022, and lost $456 million in the first quarter of 2023.

June 23, 2024 at 08:14PM

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