Chief executive officer of Bytedance’s video-sharing app Tiktok, Kevin Mayer, said Wednesday that he was resigning, following an executive order from US President Donald Trump requiring the company to sell its US operations.
Details: Mayer said in a note to employees that he had decided to leave the company and that Vanessa Pappas, the general manager of Tikok US, will take over as interim global head of the company, The New York Times reported Thursday.
- “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,” Mayer wrote in the note.
- “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,” he said.
- Tiktok said in a statement sent to TechNode that “the political dynamics of the last few months have significantly changed what the scope of Kevin’s role would be going forward” and that the company fully respects Mayer’s decision.
Context: In May, Bytedance appointed Mayer, formerly the top executive for The Walt Disney Company’s streaming business, as its chief operating officer and Tiktok’s chief executive officer.
- Mayer was assigned to lead Bytedance’s global expansion as well as corporate development, sales, marketing, public affairs, security, and content moderation.
- “As one of the world’s most accomplished entertainment executives, Kevin is incredibly well placed to take Bytedance’s portfolio of products to the next level,” Zhang Yiming, Bytedance founder and CEO said at the time.
- Trump signed an executive order on Aug. 6 banning “any transaction” between any person or company under US jurisdiction and Bytedance starting Sept. 15.
- On Aug. 14, he issued another executive order requiring Bytedance to either sell or spin off Tiktok’s US operations within 90 days.
- On Monday, Bytedance filed a lawsuit challenging the Aug. 6 executive order, arguing that it was issued without evidence or due process, and that the company’s previously provided documentation was “sufficient to address any conceivable US government privacy or national security concerns.”