New TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer Talks About Why He Left Disney
Earlier this year there was quite a shake-up among Disney execs when Bob Iger announced he was stepping down from his role as CEO, a position that would soon be filled by Bob Chapek. What followed was a reshuffle of several top-tier positions within the company and it was at this time that Kevin Mayer, former head of Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer and International segment decided to step down to take the position as CEO of TikTok.
Though Disney insiders weren’t surprised that Mayer had made the leap, no one really knew the story behind the shift until now. Mayer recently led a Webinar with Creatv University where he discussed his Disney departure.
“I was doing great things at Disney,” Mayer said. But, he added, “There comes a time in anyone’s career when you have to make a choice.”
Mayer said he will “always have a huge amount of fondness” for Disney. After all, he did work with the company for 20 years and most recently oversaw the launch of Disney’s massively successful Disney+ streaming network. However, the 58-year old executive said about his departure, “It seemed like the right time – I’m not getting any younger.” Many insiders have speculated that Mayer made the decision to depart from the company when the CEO role went to Chapek.
During the webinar, Mayer called ex-CEO Bob Iger “a fantastic mentor” and recalled how, while at the company, Mayer led the Walt Disney Company’s M&A strategy to buy Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. Disney bought Marvel for $4 billion, a property today “that’s worth many, many times $4 billion,” Mayer said
Though Mayer’s leap to TikTok which as Variety tells us is the fastest company to hit $15 billion in revenue, might seem like a bold move, Mayer actually said that the company has some striking similarities to Disney. For instance, the strategy for both companies is to deliver content as accurately as possible to consumers.
Mayer officially joined TikTok on June 1st, right at the start of the protests over the death of George Floyd. He spoke of the platform’s responsibility during these unprecedented times, “We have the responsibility to be that platform when people want to express their anger and belief in social justice.” He added that right now, “Maybe the most important thing isn’t joy, it’s social justice. And our product reflects that.”
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