TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer Resigns
Mayer, citing pressure from the White House to ban the social network over its ties to China, is also stepping down as COO of parent company ByteDance.
Kevin Mayer this week announced his resignation as TikTok CEO after only about three months on the job. In a letter to staff, Mayer cited pressure from the White House to ban the social network over its ties to China.
"I understand that the role that I signed up for — including running TikTok globally — will look very different as a result of the U.S. administration's action to push for a selloff of the U.S. business," Mayer wrote in a company-wide memo, viewed by The Wall Street Journal. "I've always been globally focused in my work, and leading a global team that includes TikTok U.S. was a big draw for me."
Vanessa Pappas, TikTok's U.S. general manager, will take over as interim global head of the platform.
President Trump recently signed an executive order giving the U.S. Commerce Secretary free rein to punish American companies and individuals found doing business with Beijing-based ByteDance. Penalties include a $1 million fine and possible imprisonment. In an effort to save the popular platform from sudden death, Microsoft and Oracle have reportedly stepped in to potentially acquire TikTok's operations in North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Despite an initial deadline of Sept. 15, a recent ordinance gives ByteDance until mid-November to sell its U.S. assets.
"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," a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement emailed to PCMag. "We thank him for his time at the company and wish him well."
Mayer may not be a household name, but as senior executive VP and chief strategy officer for The Walt Disney Company, he managed major acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel Entertainment, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox.
The news comes just one day after TikTok launched a collaboration with visual artist and designer Joshua Vides on limited-edition apparel featuring the phrase "Not Going Anywhere." "The collection is a reflection of the incredible support of our community," according to a company blog post. "We're proud to memorialize that sentiment: TikTok is not going anywhere."