Here’s why TikTok’s American CEO just quit three months into the job

By Michael Grothaus

TikTok isn’t having a good 2020 (but hey, who is?). For months, the social media app has been under a sustained attack from the Trump administration over its alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party. The app has had similar troubles in India, where it’s been banned. And as of today, TikTok’s troubles have only increased because it just lost its American CEO, Kevin Mayer.

Mayer had only been on the job for three months when he resigned from the company on Thursday. When he joined, it was a big coup for the company. Mayer is a highly respected American business leader who previously worked for Disney and was one of the driving forces behind Disney’s acquisitions of Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm. His last feat at Disney was launching Disney Plus, which has been a resounding success.

It would have been interesting to see what Mayer could have done with what is becoming one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. But, as of today, we’ll never know. So why did Mayer quit? It comes down to the changing political landscape, which is not leaning in TikTok’s favor. As The Financial Times reports, Mayer told TikTok employees the following:

“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.”

Mayer went on to explain that “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.”

As for who leads TikTok from here, that’s unknown. In the interim, the company’s current general manager, Vanessa Pappas, will take over the duties of running TikTok while the search for a new CEO goes on.

 

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