Disney's head of streaming to become CEO of TikTok

Tuesday - 19/05/2020 11:12
GETTY IMAGES / Kevin Mayer is stepping down as the head of Disney streaming services to run TikTok.
GETTY IMAGES / Kevin Mayer is stepping down as the head of Disney streaming services to run TikTok.
Disney's head of streaming Kevin Mayer is stepping down to become the boss of social media platform TikTok.

He has been named the chief executive officer of TikTok and chief operating officer of ByteDance, the platform's Chinese parent company.

TikTok, an app where users post short videos, has seen an explosion of growth since its US launch.

But that increased popularity has led to scrutiny by the US government over its ties to China.

Mr Mayer will be responsible for ByteDance's "global development" including emerging business, gaming and music.

"I'm 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," Mr Mayer said in the release.

He will be the first CEO of TikTok. 

US concern

TikTok has been downloaded more than 2 billion times on iOS and Android since it was launched globally in 2017. The app allows users to make videos up to 15-seconds long with music in the background.

The coronavirus pandemic has helped boost its popularity further with many users making comical or musical videos of their quarantine experiences.

But having a Chinese parent company has worried US politicians. Some of them have raised concerns about ByteDance allowing Chinese government censorship or data collection on TikTok users. Both are charges ByteDance denies.

Disney success

At Disney, Mr Mayer oversaw the successful launch of the firms streaming service, Disney Plus in November of 2019. The service had over 54 million subscribers by May. He also managed the firms other streaming investments including Hulu, Hotstar, and sports streaming services ESPN plus.

He was also considered a key figure in the company's acquisitions of Lucasfilm, Pixar and Marvel. 

Before Disney's former chief executive Bob Iger stepped down from that role in February, Mr Mayer was viewed as a possible candidate to replace him. However, the role was given to Bob Chapek, head of parks, experiences and products.

Mr Mayer will be joining ByteDance on 1 June.

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