TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer has quit the company just months after taking charge, as the Chinese-owned video-sharing app faces a possible ban following an executive order by Trump earlier this month that accused the platform of sharing U.S. user data with Chinese authorities, the Financial Times reported, citing an internal letter.
- Mayer reportedly informed employees at TikTok and its parent ByteDance of his decision to leave the company on Thursday.
- Mayer’s decision came after President Donald Trump issued an executive order that seeks to ban TikTok in the U.S. unless ByteDance sells its operations in the country to an American company.
- The report added that while taking over in June, Mayer had not anticipated the extent to which TikTok would become involved in tensions between China and the US.
- Vanessa Pappas, the current general manager of TikTok will take over as interim head, the internal letter annoucing the exit noted.
- Mayer who had helped launch the Disney+ streaming service joined TikTok earlier this year after he was reportedly passed over for the CEO role at Disney.
- On Monday, TikTok sued the Trump administration challenging the president’s executive order, stating that, "By banning TikTok with no notice or opportunity to be heard (whether before or after the fact), the executive order violates the due process protections of the Fifth Amendment.”
According to the Financial Times’ report, Mayer told employees in a letter, “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 had been at the receiving end of direct attacks from the Trump administration after joining TikTok. In July, White House trade advisor Peter Navarro called Mayer an “American puppet” for working at the Chinese-owned company and said that the strategy of putting a U.S. citizen in charge was “not going to work.” Prior to joining TikTok, Mayer was considered as the “in-house favorite” to take over as the new Disney CEO. He had helped orchestrate big ticket acquisitions for the company including Lucasfilm, Pixar, Marvel and 21st Century Fox and had also led the company’s streaming push which culminated in the launch of Disney+. Mayer, however, was passed over and Disney picked the company’s parks and consumer products head Bob Chapek instead.