TikTok appoints new CEO after previous one resigned over dispute with the United States

Shou Zi Chew is the new CEO of TikTok, he will fill the vacancy left by Kevin Mayer, who was only three months in office and resigned because the United States threatened to veto the app.

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3, 2021

3 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

After eight months without a definitive leader, TikTok finally appointed a new permanent CEO . This is Shou Zi Chew , who just last March obtained the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of ByteDance , the company that owns TikTok .

According to his LinkedIn profile , Chew was CFO, Director and Partner of Xiaomi , a Chinese company that has positioned itself in the tech market thanks to its smartphones and other gadgets.

The new TikTok CEO will maintain his responsibilities as CFO of ByteDance, and will team up with Vanessa Pappas , who was named interim CEO following the resignation of Kevin Mayer and will now assume the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO) of TikTok.

“Shou and Vanessa’s leadership team sets the stage for sustained growth ,” Yiming Zhang, CEO of ByteDance, said in a statement.

Shou Zi Chew spent more than 5 years at Xiaomi, where he was a senior executive. His first job after graduating from the University of London was with the prestigious investment firm Goldman Sachs. Image via LinkedIn .  

“Shou brings a deep understanding of the company and the industry, having led a team that was among our earliest investors and having worked in the technology sector for a decade. It will bring depth to the team, focusing on areas including corporate governance and long-term business initiatives , ”the company added.

The company explains that these appointments are “a strategic reorganization to optimize TikTok’s global teams and support the company’s unprecedented growth .”

Why did TikTok go eight months without a permanent CEO?

In 2020, the short video app got into a strong dispute with the United States , where it has more than 100 million users. The government, then headed by Donald Trump, threatened to veto it because, allegedly, it represents a risk to national security. One of the conditions to allow it to continue operating in its territory was that it sold a part to a company in that country.

To calm the waters, in May 2020 TikTok appointed American Kevin Mayer , who was a senior Disney executive, as CEO. However, Meyer resigned only three months later due to the big change in “the political environment,” he argued.

The firm then gave the role of interim CEO to Pappas, who was serving as general manager of TikTok’s operations in the United States.

TikTok spent months fighting to avoid a forced sale. Fortunately, the change in management helped them get out of the spotlight. Last February, the administration of President Joe Biden asked a federal court to stop the litigation to ban TikTok in the United States , while they conduct a review of the case.

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