Tiktok CEO Kevin Mayer Quits From His Position As Trump Compels The Chinese App to Sell US Business

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Kevin Mayer, the American CEO of the Chinese-owned short video app TikTok, declared on Wednesday that he was resigning after the company came under sustained pressure from the Trump government over its ties to China. In a note to his employees, Mr. Mayer said that a plethora of changes to TikTok’s operating structure prompted him to leave. Tiktok is owned by the Chinese internet company ByteDance, it has been ordered by the Trump Government to sell its U.S. operations by mid-September. Though Mr. Mayer did not specify the timing of his departure.

Mr. Mayer, who became the CEO of TikTok in May, further said that he had signed up for a global role and that leading a global team had been a big win for him. His departure highlights the troubles faced by TikTok as it has become a geopolitical issue amid the worsening U.S.-China relations. To prove its point, The White House has started a campaign of being tough on China. Owing to this, President Trump and other White House officials have zeroed in on many technology companies, which they say are beholding to the Chinese government through security laws. In recent months, especially after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic which started from China, the Trump administration has clearly stated their dislike for the Chinese app TikTok. The Trump Government feels that the short video making app poses an immense threat to the Country’s national security as it is owned by China. After India banned the Chinese app from the Indian markets, President Trump signed an executive order to block TikTok if ByteDance did not sell the app’s entire U.S. operations within the next 45 days. He later issued another executive order extending the deadline and giving ByteDance 90 days to close this deal.

The Trump Government’s moves have compelled ByteDance and TikTok to seek a buyer for the app’s U.S. operations. U.S. tech giants like Microsoft and the enterprise software maker Oracle, along with some other companies, have been discussing a potential deal for a while now. The deal will be in prices ranging from $20 billion to $50 billion. But talks are not so strong, as people with the knowledge of the discussions have said, and according to them, no deal may be reached. At the same time, TikTok has released its anguish back against the Trump administration. On Monday, the company sued the U.S. government, by accusing it of depriving the company of due process by forcing a sale using an executive order.

Responding to this Zhang Yiming, the founder and CEO of ByteDance, said in a note on Wednesday to its employees that Mr. Mayer had joined the company at arguably the most challenging times of Tiktok. He said that he and Mr. Mayer had a word and discussed how his global role would be affected considering that he was based in the United States.Mr. Zhang further added that ByteDance and TikTok were moving cautiously to resolve its issues in the United States and India, where the app was banned in June. In a statement, TikTok said they understand that due to the political dynamics of the last few months, the scope of Kevin’s role has significantly changed and that they fully respect his decision. Further Vanessa Pappas, general manager of TikTok in North America, will take over as the interim global head of the company as of now.


Mr. Mayer, who was the former top streaming executive at Walt Disney, joined TikTok in May. He joined not only as its CEO but also as the chief operating officer of ByteDance Company. In an interview, Mr. Mayer said he had left Walt Disney for TikTok because of the magnitude of this opportunity which was something that he could not let go. TikTok has become very popular in the United States and in other countries like India, where many people use it to create and share short videos. In the United States alone, TikTok has more than 100 million users. Overall, TikTok’s app has been downloaded about 1.9 billion times across the world, according to Sensor Tower, an app data firm.Mr. Mayer’s hiring was part of an effort by TikTok to bring on more American executives as Washington’s surveillance of the app grew dramatically. The company also hired more employees in Los Angeles, New York, and more than a dozen other places in the entire United States. Tiktok has said it had planned to add over 10,000 new jobs in the country.
But over the past few months, things changed drastically shortly after Mr. Mayer joined TikTok, with White House pressure increasing and then the signing of the executive orders during this time. For many months, the company had worked to satisfy the Trump Government by holding talks with investors and others to reduce its Chinese ownership. And also by finding a way to store data on its American users in the United States. TikTok has clearly stated that it currently stores U.S. user data on servers located in Virginia and Singapore.

In its constant fight to stay alive and active in the United States, TikTok pointed to Mr. Mayer’s status as a successful American executive based in the country. It made the argument both in recent conversations with the lawmakers on Capitol Hill and also in the lawsuit it filed on Monday against the Trump administration. Further to elevate the confidence in his employees on Wednesday, Mr. Mayer stated that the future is incredibly bright for TikTok.

Hinting towards the ongoing political unrest he said that he has tremendous confidence over the world-class security team in Tiktok vigorously working to make people on the social platform safe and secure.


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