- TikTok confirmed CEO Kevin Mayer’s departure in an emailed statement and said the political dynamics of the last few months have “significantly changed” the scope of his role.
- Former Disney executive, Kevin Mayer had joined the TikTok in mid-May and resigned just after 100 days.
Kevin Mayer, TikTok Chief Executive Officer has left the company in less than four months after he joined the world’s largest short video app in mid-May. According to an internal memo viewed by Financial Times, TikTok’s general manager Vanessa Pappas will take over the position on an interim basis.
Mayer said in his letter to employees,
“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 very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company.”
Over the last few weeks, TikTok faced tremendous pressure from the Trump administration over its links to China. On August 6, Trump also signed an order banning TikTok and WeChat in 45 days if they don’t sell the app’s U.S operations though they have time until mid-November to divest itself. Mayer “did not anticipate the extent to which TikTok would become involved in tensions between China and the U.S.”, sources reported to Financial Times.
Recently, TikTok filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for banning transactions with ByteDance. TikTok is owned by Chinese internet company Byte Dance that is caught amidst growing distrust between Washington and Beijing. Trump administration accuses the app as a national security threat to the U.S.
The impending TikTok sale attracted investors interest starting from Microsoft, the front runner to least expected Oracle.
TikTok spokesperson in a statement to TechCrunch 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.”
ByteDance’s founder and CEO Zhang Yiming said Mayer had joined the firm just as it was “entering arguably our most challenging moment.”
“It is never easy to come into a leadership position in a company moving as quickly as we are, and the circumstances following his arrival made it all the more complex.”
TikTok has also been targeted in India as it was one of the 59 Chinese apps banned by the Indian government in June following a border clash between India and China.
Before joining TikTok, Kevin Mayer worked at Disney for over 27 years and was head of direct-to-consumer content and international business at Disney who oversaw the launches of Disney+ and ESPN+. Mayer left after Disney named Bob Chapek the company’s new CEO. Mayer was considered a longtime contender for the CEO position.