Disney streaming head Kevin Mayer resigns to become TikTok CEO
The Walt Disney Company’s top streaming executive, Kevin Mayer, resigned on Monday to become the chief executive of short-form video app “TikTok”. Mayer had served as the head of Disney’s direct-to-consumer unit and oversaw Disney+.
He will now be the Chief Executive Officer of TikTok, the popular video platform owned by ByteDance. He has also been named as the COO of the firm ByteDance. Mayer’s new appointment will be effective on June 1. Alex Zhu, the current TikTok President, will transition to ByteDance VP.
Mayer Kevin in his new role at TikTok as CEO will be strategizing the development of the short-video app in comparison to the company’s competitions like Facebook and Snapchat.
Mayer has joined The Walt Disney in the year 2005 and had led Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer and International segment since its founding in 2018.
Under the long tenure Kevin Mayer, Disney shifted its business focus from films and television to the world of streaming. Kevin Mayer had led the successful launch of Disney Plus, the company’s streaming service in November. This was Mayer’s biggest achievement at Disney. Other than Disney Plus, he had also led the launch of ESPN Plus and spearheaded major acquisitions like that of 21st Century Fox, Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Marvel Studios with former CEO Bob Iger.
On the other hand, Disney named has named Rebecca Campbell, a company veteran and President of Disneyland Resort, to replace Kevin Mayer as head of the Direct-to-Consumer and International Division, including the streaming media units of Disney, from which the is planning to drive future growth and development.
Over his joining TikTok and leaving Disney Kevin Mayer said in a statement, “I am extremely thrilled to have the opportunity to join the amazing team at ByteDance. Moreover, on a personal note, I am grateful to the entire Disney team for the tremendous accomplishments we achieved together. I am especially thankful to Bob Iger for his visionary leadership and mentorship over many years, and to Bob Chapek whom I greatly admire. As I begin a new chapter, I’m humbled by the trust Yiming and the Board has placed in me as we move forward with a shared vision of how to scale ByteDance’s growth.”
The CEO of Walt Disney, Robert Chapek said, “Kevin has had an extraordinary impact on Disney over the years, most recently as head of our direct-to-consumer business. He has done a masterful job of overseeing and growing our portfolio of streaming services while bringing together the creative and technological assets required in launching Disney Plus globally.”
As per the market reports and analytics, TikTok, the popular video platform, now has about 2 billion downloads, which double its total from just 15 months ago. During the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns of just three months from January to March, TikTok has been downloaded 315 million times worldwide, exceeding downloads of any other app ever during a single quarter.
Despite the fact of an increasing number of downloads TikTok is facing flak worldwide. US lawmakers have issued a warning that the China-originated app could pose a national security threat. They further claimed that the Chinese-owned platforms could be used to spy on US citizens and could breach the security of the US government. Naming an American CEO from a brand like Disney could be a way to help address scrutiny and criticism.
As per a principal analyst at eMarketer Debra Aho Williamson, “TikTok and its Chinese ownership have come under criticism over the past, and bringing in someone with a strong, media company background in the US, is going to be a smart move for them.”