Kevin Mayer steps down as TikTok CEO
Months after becoming the Chief Executive Officer of the Chinese short video app, Kevin Mayer has stepped down as the TikTok CEO. As per reports, Mayer’s decision to quit came in the wake of US President Donal Trump’s order to close down the Chinese app within 90 days for allegedly being a threat to the country’s national security. TikTok's general manager Vanessa Pappas has taken over as the CEO on an interim basis.
As per Financial Times, Mayer had written a letter to his employees informing them about his decision to quit the Bytedance-owned company. Mayer decided to quit after Trump threatened to ban TikTok in the US within 90 days if the US operations of the Bytedance-owned app is not sold to a domestic 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. 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 wrote in his letter to his employees, which was obtained by Financial Times.
“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,” he added.
Reacting to Mayer's decision to step down, a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch, "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. We thank him for his time at the company and wish him well."
Kevin Mayer took over as TikTok CEO in May 2020. Prior to joining the Bytedance-owned company, Mayer served as the streaming head of Disney.
Trump had signed an executive order on August 6 issuing TikTok a deadline of 45 days to sell its operations to a US firm or face a ban in the country. Trump called the Chinese-owned short-video app TikTok and messenger app WeChat "significant threats."
TikTok, however, didn't take this lightly and filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration.
"The Executive Order issued by the Administration on August 6, 2020, has the potential to strip the rights of that community without any evidence to justify such an extreme action, and without any due process. We strongly disagree with the Administration's position that TikTok is a national security threat and we have articulated these objections previously. Now is the time for us to act. We do not take suing the government lightly, however, we feel we have no choice but to take action to protect our rights, and the rights of our community and employees," TikTok in a blog post said.