Kevin Mayer, the CEO of the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok, has left his role at the company just months after taking the helm as the company faces continued scrutiny from the Trump administration over national security concerns.
The Financial Times reports that the CEO of the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok, Kevin Mayer, notified employees at TikTok and its parent company ByteDance that he plans to leave his position at the Chinese company. The current general manager of TikTok, Vanessa Pappas, will become interim head of TikTok.
Mayer, a former Disney executive, made the decision to leave shortly after President Trump ordered a ban on the app unless ByteDance sold its U.S. assets to an American company within 90 days. American tech giants Microsoft and Oracle have both expressed interest in purchasing TikTok’s U.S. business. Mayer had only left Disney for TikTok in May of this year.
Mayer announced his departure in a letter to employees stating:
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.
I understand that the role that I signed up for — including running TikTok globally — will look very different as a result of the US administration’s action to push for a sell off of the US business.
The Financial Times reports that Mayer did not anticipate the extent to which TikTok’s operations in the U.S. would become a political matter. One person with knowledge of the situation commented: “He didn’t sign up for this. He has put himself in a sensitive political zone. He will have to align himself with both his Chinese masters and public scrutiny in the US.”
ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming said in a letter to employees that he understood Mayer’s decision to leave given the political challenge that TikTok is facing. In the letter, Yiming stated: “Kevin spoke to me, and I fully understand that the resulting outcome that we land upon due to the political circumstances we are operating within could have significant impact on his job in any scenario, but particularly given his global role while he’s based in the US.”
Read more at the Financial Times here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org