The top streaming executive of Walt Disney Co. or Disney, Kevin Mayer will be leaving the American entertainment and mass media giant to become the new chief executive officer (CEO) of TikTok, the popular video app owned by China’s ByteDance Technology Co. (ByteDance).
Mayer was the key architect behind the successful launch of the Disney+ streaming service in November and working as the chairman of the Direct-to-Consumer & International (DTCI) division of Disney.
Mayer as New CEO of TikTok
A Chinese tech company, ByteDance announced on Monday, May 18, 2020, that Mayer, who stepped down as DTCI chairman, would be working from June 1 as the new CEO of TikTok and also as a chief operating officer (COO) of ByteDance. It was reported that Mayer led Disney+ to get more than 50 million subscribers in five months but his career in Disney became uncertain after the company named Robert Chapek as CEO in February.
According to a former Disney executive, Mayer was considered to be lacking operating experience of a large profit-and-loss division and was the main reason why he did not get the top job. Nonetheless, a ByteDance spokesman said the Chinese company had “no reservations” about Mayer’s operational experience and stated, “Any company in our sector would be delighted have him onboard.”
TikTok, a video-sharing social networking service that allows users to create short videos with special effects, has become wildly popular with teenagers across the world since it creates a platform for viral challenges among them. In January, it announced an ambitious deal to build a music streaming business by collaborating with the UK-based music rights agency, Merlin.
US Security Review of TikTok
The US government has been putting concerns about the ways that Chinese tech companies handle the personal information of the users and, on several occasions, it lodged a lawsuit against the China-based tech companies on the ground of security violation. ByteDance is also facing scrutiny about TikTok’s handling of personal data since the company used sophisticated artificial intelligence to make video recommendations based on users’ behavior on the app.
In November, the US government began a national security review of a $1 billion acquisition deal of social media app Musical.ly by ByteDance, and subsequently, two senators had introduced a bill to ban federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued phones. ByteDance has made several efforts, citing the growing security-related issues, to separate TikTok from much of its Chinese businesses and has appointed several high-profile executives in recent months to operate the business separately.
Republican Josh Hawley, one of those senators, said that the Chinese company earlier denied testifying before Congress as it was located in China and Hawley wrote on Twitter on Monday, “But this new executive lives in the USA,” referring to the appointment of Mayer as the new CEO by adding that “I look forward to hearing from him. Under oath.”
I’m Roshan, a journalist, blogger and music lover. I like covering global news related to finance, business, and technology. Focusing on the collection of true and reliable information, I rely on working by conducting interviews with business leaders and talking to the inside sources of companies.
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