TikTok Appoints New CEO Following Spat With U.S. Government

Shou Zi Chew will fill the vacancy left by Kevin Mayer, who only held the role for three months before resigning.

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Entrepreneur Staff
3 min read
This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

After eight months without a stable leader in place, TikTok appointed Shou Zi Chew, who became the CFO of TikTok's parent company ByteDance in March, as its new permanent CEO.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Chew was CFO, director and partner at Xiaomi, a Chinese company that has positioned itself as a major player in the smartphone market. 

The new TikTok CEO will maintain his responsibilities as CFO of ByteDance and will work with Vanessa Pappas, who was previously named TikTok's interim CEO following Kevin Mayer's resignation and will now assume the role of COO.

"Shou and Vanessa's leadership team sets the stage for sustained growth," Yiming Zhang, CEO of ByteDance, said in a statement.

Shou Zi Chew spent more than 5 years at Xiaomi, where he was a senior executive. His first job after graduating from the University of London was with the prestigious investment firm Goldman Sachs. Image via LinkedIn.  

“Shou brings a deep understanding of the company and the industry, having led a team that was among our earliest investors and having worked in the technology sector for a decade. It will bring depth to the team, focusing on areas including corporate governance and long-term business initiatives,” the company added.

The company said that the appointments are "a strategic reorganization to optimize TikTok's global teams and support the company's unprecedented growth."

Why did TikTok go eight months without a permanent CEO?

In 2020, the video-sharing app was embroiled in a dispute with the U.S., where it has more than 100 million users. The federal government, then headed by Donald Trump, threatened to veto it because the app allegedly represented a risk to national security. The government eventually allowed TikTok to continue operating in the country under the condition that it sold a part of itself to an American business.

To calm the waters, in May 2020, TikTok appointed Kevin Mayer, who was then a senior Disney executive, as CEO. However, Meyer resigned only three months later, due to what he explained was a big change in the country's "political environment." TikTok then gave the role of interim CEO to Pappas, who was then serving as general manager of TikTok's operations in the U.S.

The company subsequently spent months fighting to avoid a forced sale. Fortunately, the change in management helped it get out of the spotlight. Last February, President Joe Biden's administration asked a federal court to stop a litigation to ban TikTok in the U.S. while it conducted a review of the case.

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