TikTok CEO bails after 3 months in the job

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U.S. investigations of TikTok gather steam.
TikTok has had something of a turbulent year.
Photo: Kon Karampelas/Unsplash CC

TikTok is all about short-form videos, but who knew it was about short-form chief executives as well? That’s one possible takeaway from the news that TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer has resigned after just three months at the helm.

Mayer cites the massive disruption resulting from President Trump’s attack on the platform, and the possibility of a sale to Microsoft or Oracle.

In an internal email, (now former) TikTok CEO Mayer wrote that:

“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.”

Before joining TikTok, Mayer was head of direct-to-consumer content at Disney. He helped oversee the launch of Disney+ while in the job, before jumping to TikTok. In the interim, TikTok general manager Vanessa Pappas will take over running the company.

TikTok’s turbulent year

Arriving and departing chief executive aside, 2020 has been a turbulent year for TikTok. In the first quarter of the year, TikTok registered the best three months of any app ever when it comes to downloads. It has repeatedly topped the list of most downloaded non-gaming app.

However, it has also come under fire from the Trump administration. In July, the White House announced it was investigating TikTok. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested that the app could share information with China. Asked if people should download TikTok, Pompeo said, “Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.” Trump subsequently signed an executive order that could ban TikTok in the U.S. by September 15 if it is not sold to a U.S. company.

On top of this, the app is reportedly being scrutinized by the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department. This is for breaching an agreement regarding child-privacy protections.

Source: Financial Times