Kevin Mayer, TikTok’s CEO, announced his resignation on 26 August, just days after the company sued the US government over its forthcoming ban. The popular Chinese-owned video app has become embroiled in tensions between Beijing and Washington, ever since the Trump administration accused the company of threatening national security.
Mayer, who had held the role for just over 100 days, reportedly made the decision to leave after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to ban the app. TikTok must now sell its US assets if it’s to avoid being shut down. Sources told the Financial Times that Mayer wanted to escape the “sensitive political zone” he had found himself in.
“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. “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.”
Before joining TikTok, Mayer was a top streaming executive at Disney. US General Manager Vanessa Pappas will replace him as interim CEO, TikTok said.
According to the Trump administration, TikTok poses a national security threat because it could pass US citizens’ data to the Chinese government. On 24 August, the company filed a legal challenge opposing the US President’s executive order, arguing it was politically motivated and made without due diligence.
The company is now in talks with potential suitors to buy TikTok’s US operations. Microsoft, and reportedly Oracle, are among those who have expressed interest.