TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer, who only started the job June 1, will return immediately as the company plans a sale under pressure from the White House.
“In recent weeks, as the political environment has changed dramatically, I have given a lot of thought to what corporate structural changes will require and what it means for the global role I have signed up for,” Mayer wrote in an email to employees. from TikTok. Wednesday “With this backdrop, and as we hope to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let everyone know that I have decided to leave the company.”
Mayer praised the employees’ efforts, saying “there is no question that the future [of TikTok] it’s unbelievably brilliant.” But at the same time, he added: “I understand that the role I signed up for, including running TikTok globally, will look very different as a result of the US Administration’s action to drive the sale of the United States business”.
Until this spring, Mayer was a top executive at Disney, where he successfully led the launch of the Disney+ streaming service. In February, however, he was passed unexpectedly to succeed outgoing Disney CEO Bob Iger in favor of Bob Chapek. Three months later, he announced that he would switch to TikTok, in a move that sparked dozens of stories about tiktok meteoric growth and its potential to make it big as a media force.
TikTok, in its official statement on Mayer’s departure, said: “We appreciate that the political dynamics of the past few months have significantly changed the scope of Kevin’s role going forward, and we fully respect his decision.”
It’s not the job you signed up for.
Yet even as TikTok’s popularity soared amid the 2020 pandemic, the company itself has been fighting the Trump administration. Earlier this month, the White House declared the existence of TikTok, along with another Chinese app, WeChat, a national emergency and issued an executive order that would effectively bar it from operating within the United States.
TikTok has repeatedly denied the administration’s accusations that it shares US user data with China, filing a lawsuit on Monday alleging the orders are unconstitutional and politically driven by an “anti-China political campaign” ahead of the November election.
On August 3, President Donald Trump issued a personal ultimatum, telling TikTok that it had until September 15 to sell to a US buyer if it wanted to continue operating within the United States. Microsoft at the time publicly confirmed that it was considering a way to buy TikTok’s US assets and has since been considered the main contender for an acquisition.
Today, however, Walmart unexpectedly announced which has joined forces with Microsoft to enter into the deal together.
Walmart wants TikTok for its potential to integrate e-commerce and advertising, the company said. “We believe a potential relationship with Tik Tok US in partnership with Microsoft could add this key functionality and provide Walmart with an important way to reach and serve omnichannel customers, as well as grow our third-party marketplace and advertising business.”
Walmart added: “We are confident that a Walmart-Microsoft partnership would meet the expectations of US TikTok users and satisfy the concerns of US government regulators.”
sources said CNBC that TikTok is expected to announce a sale “as soon as next week,” ahead of Trump’s September 15 deadline and that the transaction is expected to be worth between $20 billion and $30 billion.