Time runs out for TikTok CEO as Mayer stops the clock and quits

The former Disney executive walks away after the trendy Chinese-owned app is dragged into US-China row

Time has finally run out for Kevin Mayer, the chief executive of trendy app TikTok.

Just three months after joining the short-video platform loved by teenagers, he has decided to quit and will be replaced by US General Manager Vanessa Pappas on an interim basis.

Mayer left Walt Disney to join TikTok in June and was also the chief operating officer of the app’s Chinese parent company ByteDance.

Tech Row

But after TikTok was dragged into the tech row between the United States and China, he has decided to step down.

“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,” Mayer said in a letter to employees as reported by the Reuters news agency.

“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.”

Earlier this month, Microsoft announced it was in discussions with TikTok after US President Donald Trump put a hold on plans to ban the social media site on national security concerns.

Strike a deal

The American tech giant now has until September to strike a deal before Trump’s deadline expires after accusing TikTok of sharing personal data with the Chinese Communist Party-ruled government. 

With up to 80 million active monthly users in the US, the app has become a major hit for Generation Z teens and Millenniums.

“It is never easy to come into a leadership position in a company moving as quickly as we are, and the circumstances following his [Mayer’s] arrival made it all the more complex,” Zhang Yiming, the founder and chief executive of ByteDance, said.