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Mayer quits TikTok after two months

Kevin Mayer, the former Disney exec who led the initial roll-out of streamer Disney+, has stepped down as CEO of shortform mobile video app TikTok after just two months in the job.

Kevin Mayer

Mayer, who also took on the role of chief operating officer of the increasingly popular app’s Chinese parent company ByteDance earlier this year, has quit as TikTok’s impending ban by US president Donald Trump looms.

TikTok surged in popularity during lockdown and recently launched a US$1bn creator fund to support user-generated content in the US.

However, it faces an uncertain future in the states, where Microsoft is interested in buying its business but President Trump has threatened to ban it after accusing TikTok of providing data to the Chinese government, which Beijing and TikTok deny.

“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.”

“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. We thank him for his time at the company and wish him well,” a spokesman for TikTok said.

Mayer, who was tipped to succeed Bob Iger atop the Mouse House but lost out to Bob Chapek, had led Disney’s direct-to-consumer and international unit since it was founded in 2018. He also oversaw the launches of ESPN+ and Disney+ and the integration of Hulu.

During his career at Disney, Mayer served as the company’s chief strategy officer and was instrumental in facilitating a number of strategic acquisitions, including that of 21st Century Fox. He joined the Mouse House in 2005.

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