Kevin Mayer pictured at Disney TV 2019 /2020 upfronts last year.
Image: Walt Disney Television via Getty
By Caitlin Welsh2020-08-27 05:26:11 UTC
Kevin A. Mayer, the chief executive officer of TikTok, has resigned after less than four months in the job, citing current political pressure on the company.
“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 an email to staff, according to the New York Times. “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.”
TikTok, the hugely popular video-sharing app owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has been under fire from the Trump administration in recent weeks. The president issued an executive order on Aug. 7 banning any U.S. citizen from transacting with ByteDance, to take effect after 45 days (i.e. around Sept. 21) unless TikTok is sold to a company outside China before then.
The administration’s public position is that TikTok’s Chinese ownership and user data collection practices pose a threat to national security.
TikTok filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration earlier this week over the order.
“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,” TikTok said in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “We thank him for his time at the company and wish him well.”
Vanessa Pappas, the company’s general manager, will take over as interim head.
The Financial Times reports that a source “with direct knowledge of the matter” said of Mayer, who left a senior global role at Disney for the CEO gig: “He didn’t sign up for this.”
Mashable has contacted TikTok for comment.
Strangely, the news broke just after midnight Thursday, Aug. 27 — a date that turned into a mysterious meme on TikTok itself, beginning in July. There’s no suggestion the users who created the meme had any idea the date would be significant for the company, but it’s a bizarre coincidence nonetheless.
This is a developing story…