Kevin Mayer

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer quits

Mayer says job was no longer the role I signed up for' after White House pressure to sell company

TikTok’s chief executive officer Kevin Mayer has quit his role over pressure from the White House to cut the company’s ties to China.

In a note to employees, Mayer said that changes to TikTok’s structure driven by Donald Trump’s threat to ban the company, have forced him out of the door.

Mayer said: 

“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.”

Trump claims that TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, is a national security threat because of its Chinese ownership.

Trump earlier this month signed an executive order to block TikTok if ByteDance did not end the app’s US operations by the middle of September. A week later, he issued another order giving ByteDance 90 days to complete the deal.

Vanessa Pappas, TikTok’s general manager, is expected to replace Mr Mayer on an interim basis.

Mayer, the former head of streaming at Disney, only joined TikTok in May of this year.

TikTok, in an emailed statement, confirmed the departure and said that the political dynamics of the last few months had “significantly changed” the scope of Mayer’s role.

“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:

The company is moving quickly to find resolutions to the issues that we face globally, particularly in the U.S. and India.

Kevin 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,

Mayer had joined TikTok following a long and successful career at Disney, most recently as chairman of its direct-to-consumer and international businesses. As a key part of his role there, he oversaw the development and successful rollout of Disney+, the company’s flagship streaming service.

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