TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer found himself in a situation he felt he didn’t sign up for. So he quit.
Mayer joined the video sharing app three months ago, when TikTok was in a very different spot. It was attracting new advertisers and users, and having a boom in the pandemic. Then, President Trump’s attacks on the app began as part of ongoing tensions with China, and suddenly, TikTok’s life is on the line. With a potential acquisition needing to happen in the next two weeks, Mayer is stepping down. In his parting remarks, he referenced the changing landscape around TikTok, and said that a resolution would be coming very soon.
Mayer’s move is being interpreted as jumping ship at the most critical time for the company. As its future plays out, a leader is necessary to navigate the changes. It might have been too much, too soon for someone relatively new to the job. Vanessa Pappas, gm of TikTok North America, Australia and New Zealand, will serve as interim CEO. Pappas came from YouTube.
Mayer, meanwhile, left a high-profile executive job at Disney, where he led the Disney+, the streaming side of the company that has taken off during the pandemic. Maybe Mayer is hoping there’s still a spot left open for him now that he’s again a free agent.