Amid political turmoil, TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer steps down
Kevin Mayer, the Chief Executive Officer of TikTok and Chief Operating Officer of its Chinese parent company ByteDance, has resigned from his posts. The action comes less than three months after he took the job at the popular video-sharing service, and leaves TikTok's US General Manager Vanessa Pappas as the interim head. Here is all you need to know about it.
Announcement in a letter to the employees of TikTok
On Wednesday, Mayer wrote a letter to the employees of TikTok, informing them about his departure due to the recent political changes in the world. He wrote, "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."
'We expect to reach a resolution soon"
"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 added in the memo to employees.
TikTok has been under immense political pressure
When Mayer joined in June, leaving his previous role of Disney's streaming head, TikTok was reeling with accusations of glorifying misogynistic content, something that was manageable. However, in no time, the situation took a major political turn as India, TikTok's biggest overseas market with 200 million users, ordered a ban deeming the Chinese service prejudicial to its sovereignty, integrity, and national security.
Then, US government started pressuring for TikTok US sale
Following India, the US government also started raising alarms over the security of its citizens' data, alleging that TikTok's parent company ByteDance might be funneling the information to the Chinese government. The government has since banned transactions with ByteDance and issued an executive ordering forcing it to either sell or shut down TikTok's US business and assets by November 12.
TikTok has also sued the Trump administration
Owing to the executive orders pressuring a sale, TikTok also filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration. Meanwhile, the video service has reportedly been in talks with several companies - including Microsoft, Oracle, and Netflix - for a deal, but wants to ensure that the administration does not insert itself into negotiations between private businesses through the lawsuit.
Clearly, Mayer did not foresee any of this
Tellingly, this entire debacle was not foreseen by Mayer when he had joined TikTok. He wrote in the letter, "The role I signed up for...will look very different as a result of the US Administration's action to push for a sell-off...I've always been globally focused in my work, and leading a global team that includes TikTok US was a big draw for me."
Here's what TikTok said on Mayer's departure
"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."