TikTok names new CEO and COO after 8 months of interim leadership

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TikTok names new CEO and COO after 8 months of interim leadership

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Angela Lang/CNET

TikTok announced a new CEO and COO Friday, eight months after its last chief executive, former Disney head of streaming Kevin Mayer, stepped down. In a move that TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, categorized as a strategic reorganization, current ByteDance Chief Financial Officer Shouzi Chew will continue in that position while also assuming the role of TikTok chief, and interim TikTok CEO Vanessa Pappas will move into the position of chief operating officer.

The appointments come after a turbulent year for the popular video sharing service. In his letter of resignation after only three months at the helm, Mayer, who helped launch the popular Disney Plus streaming service, cited as a reason for his departure then-US President Donald Trump’s threat to ban TikTok unless it was sold to a US-based company.

Shouzi will continue to work out of his home office in Singapore, while Pappas is set to remain in Los Angeles. “The TikTok journey is just beginning,” said Pappas, according to the press release.

Though current US President Joe Biden has eased off on the threats made by his predecessor, and a federal court ruled in December 2020 that the government “likely overstepped” its authority in pushing for a TikTok ban, some in the US continue to worry that the Chinese-owned company could pose a security risk. 

A heavily redacted court filing by the Justice Department in September 2020, however, didn’t identify any specific risks or speculate as to what those risks might be. ByteDance and TikTok have said the security worries are unfounded.

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