Former Disney Head and TikTok CE Kevin Mayer Abruptly Steps Down
Earlier this year, we here at MickeyBlog covered the move of Kevin Mayer, previous Exec at Walt Disney Company credited with ensuring the successful launch of the Disney+ streaming network to TikTok. In a move that surprised the industry, after a short stint in the job, Mayer, Chef Executive of TikTok announced that he is resigning. This news is believed to be a result of the sustained pressure from the Trump administration over TikTok’s ties to China.
According to a recent piece that appeared in The New York Times, Mayer said that a series of changes to TikTok’s structure served as the catalyst for his decision to stand down. The app is owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance which has been ordered by the White House to sell its US operations by Mid September.
Mayer said in the email, “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.” He continued, “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 announced in May meaning that he was just in post a few months before making the decision to step down.
TikTok is under increased pressure as tensions continue to escalate between U.S. and China. As part of a campaign to demonstrate a toughness towards China, the President and White House officials have set their sites on tech companies which they argue are controlled by the Chinese government due to security laws. This month Trump signed an executive order to block TikTok if ByteDance did not sell the app’s U.S. operations within 45 days which he extended to 90 days.
As a result, ByteDance has begun shopping for a buyer for the app’s U.S. operations with tech giants like Microsoft and Oracle registering an interest. Prices for the buyout are coming in at a staggering $20 billion to $50 billion. However, TikTok seems committed to fighting the President’s demands and are suing the U.S. government saying that the measures are depriving the company of due process.
Zhang Yiming, the CE of Byte Dance acknowledged that Mayer joined TikTok at “arguably our most challenging moment.” He said that he and Mr. Mayer had spoken and that he understood how Mr. Mayer’s global role would be affected given that he was based in the United States. In an official statement, TikTok had this to say about 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.”
Vanessa Pappas, general manager of TikTok in North America, will take over as the interim global head of the company.
Mayer, who was the top streaming executive at Disney,, reportedly began looking for other opportunities after he was passed over to replace Bob Iger. That role went to Bob Chapek who now serves as CEO of the Walt Disney Company. Mayer announced that he was leaving for TikTok shortly thereafter.
This is a story that we will continue to follow here at MickeyBlog, readers are encouraged to keep checking in with us for further news and updates.
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Source: The New York Times