“You need to communicate as vividly and clearly as possible that you’re on a different trajectory. The stronger the break with the past, the clearer the signal,” says Haslam. “For this reason, women or members of other minority groups are often given priority for appointment in such cases.”
Yaccarino’s background in advertising is Twitter’s main source of income, certainly making her the logical choice to try to salvage the company’s faltering business. But experts interviewed by WIRED say one of the reasons women take on risky cliff roles is that, while highly qualified, they often have few other opportunities for leadership roles.
“For a lot of female executives, sometimes their first opportunity to step into a really powerful role is to turn around an entire department or company,” says Coco Brown, chief executive of Athena Alliance, a networking group for women executives. in business.
This can make it difficult to reject an unstable glass-cliff role, even if the risks are obvious. According to the University of Utah’s Glass, while women are more likely to be appointed during times of crisis, they are also more likely to be blamed for the crisis itself and later replaced by a white male CEO who the researchers have dubbed the savior of influence.
“Female CEOs rarely get second chances,” Glass said. “It’s a double whammy for female CEOs: These crisis appointments may be their only chance, and once they enter these positions, they jeopardize their future leadership careers.”
But, many times, women are often best suited to help turn things around, Glass said. GM CEO Mary Barra pulled the company back from the brink of failure after the 2008 financial crisis. Before stepping down in 2009, Anne Mulachy took over as CEO of Xerox, which was struggling to make it profitable.
Yaccarino’s chances of success, said Sandra Quince, CEO of Paradigm for Parity, an organization addressing the gender gap in business, depend in part on how much time and freedom she has to turn things around. The board’s support and Musk’s willingness to actually let go could be crucial.
Musk has said that after Yaccarino becomes CEO, he will become executive chairman of Twitter’s board and the company’s chief technology officer. He’s also the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, with President and COO Gwynne Shotwell in charge of day-to-day operations.
“She needed the board’s support for her vision for the organization,” Quince said. “She needs someone to provide her with aerial cover. In times like these, when you’re trying to figure it out, no one is perfect and mistakes can be made.”
It might be tempting to view Yaccarino’s appointment as the cynical last breath of a failing company. But Athena Alliance’s Brown said Yaccarino should be lauded for his bravery, whether or not Twitter is ultimately saved.
“We shouldn’t say it’s been set up as a public failure, but she’s decided this is her chance to try something a little bit heroic,” Brown said. “According to most people, she’s going to fail. But if she puts Wouldn’t it be cool to pull it out? If Yaccarino pulls it off, it might be the most surprising twist in the story of Musk taking over the spiral.