Kevin Mayer quits as TikTok CEO over political turmoil
Kevin Mayer, the chief executive of TikTok, announced that he is resigning from his post. His resignation came just over 100 days after he joined the world’s largest short videos app.
Mayer, who is also the chief operating officer of TikTok parent ByteDance, was only appointed into this role in mid-May. He joined after quitting a 15-year career at The Walt Disney Company, as chairman of Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) content. He oversaw the launch of Disney Plus. Mayer was also crucial to some of Disney’s key acquisitions, including Marvel Entertainment in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012. Mayer left not long after Disney named Bob Chapek the company’s new CEO following Bob Iger’s move to executive chairman.
Mayer announced his departure in an internal email to employees as TikTok came under pressure from the Trump administration over its links to China. As per sources, Mayer had not anticipated the extent to which TikTok would become involved in tensions between China and the US.
Mayer said in his letter, “In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for. Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company.”
TikTok spokesperson in a statement said, “We appreciate that the political dynamics of the last few months have significantly changed what the scope of Kevin’s role would be going forward, and fully respect his decision. We thank him for his time at the company and wish him well.”
The news came just after TikTok filed a lawsuit against Trump administration over its forthcoming ban. TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, had come under pressure from the Trump administration over its links to China.
Over the last few weeks, TikTok has faced an unprecedented amount of pressure from the Trump government. Trump seeks that an American company purchase TikTok’s US business or the app would be banned in the US entirely. Microsoft has emerged as a front runner in the ongoing sales talks, but companies like Oracle and Netflix have reportedly also had talks with Chinese parent company ByteDance. On August 6, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to shut down TikTok if ByteDance doesn’t sell the app’s US operations. The app has until mid-November to divest itself.
As per reports Vanessa Pappas, currently general manager of TikTok, will take over as interim CEO. Pappas joined TikTok in January 2019 as US general manager. She was previously global head of Creative Insights at Google’s YouTube.