Former Disney lead Kevin Mayer joins as CEO of TikTok


ByteDance has appointed Kevin Mayer as its chief operating officer, who will also serve as chief executive officer of TikTok. Mayer's appointment is effective 1 June 2020, and he will report to Yiming Zhang, ByteDance's founder and CEO. Bringing with him over 25 years experience, Mayer was most recently Disney's chairman of direct-to-consumer & international. 

In his dual role with ByteDance and TikTok, Mayer will lead music, gaming, Indian social networking service Helo, emerging businesses, and lead TikTok as it continues to build its global community of creators, users, and brands. He will also be charged with driving the global development of ByteDance, as well as overseeing corporate functions including corporate development, sales, marketing, public affairs, security, moderation, and legal.

Prior to this, as the chairman of Direct-to-Consumer & International at Disney, he oversaw the development and rollout of Disney+, the company's flagship streaming service. Additionally, he led the company's other direct-to-consumer businesses, including Hulu, ESPN+, and Hotstar, as well as overseeing Disney's international operations, global ad sales, and global content sales.

According to Mayer,  like everyone else, he has been impressed watching the company build something incredibly rare in TikTok – a creative, positive online global community – and is excited to help lead the next phase of ByteDance's journey as the company continues to expand its breadth of products across every region of the world.

"On a personal note, I'm thankful to the entire Disney team for the tremendous accomplishments we achieved together. I'm especially grateful to Bob Iger for his visionary leadership and mentorship over many years, and to Bob Chapek whom I greatly admire. As I begin a new chapter, I'm humbled by the trust Yiming and the Board have placed in me as we move forward with a shared vision of how to scale ByteDance's growth," he added. 

Meanwhile, ByteDance founder and CEO Zhang said Mayer's wealth of experience building successful global businesses makes him an outstanding fit for the company's mission of inspiring creativity for users globally. "As one of the world's most accomplished entertainment executives, Mayer is incredibly well placed to take ByteDance's portfolio of products to the next level. I look forward to working very closely with Kevin on our global development and the next chapter of the ByteDance story," he added. 

Following Mayer's appointment, Alex Zhu, the current president of TikTok, will transition to ByteDance VP of product & strategy, where he will focus on his primary passion overseeing strategy and product design. Kelly Zhang and Lidong Zhang will continue to lead the China business as CEO and chairman of ByteDance China, respectively, managing a range of products, including Douyin, Toutiao, and Xigua, in addition to their duties leading the business and operational teams in China.

As part of its commitment to rooting its operations in the local markets it serves, TikTok's national and regional leaders will remain in their roles with their current responsibilities, reporting in to Mayer, who will be responsible for the global business.

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