Kevin Mayer, a former Disney exec who took a leadership role in launching Disney+, has stepped down as CEO of TikTok. Mayer has been in the role for just three months.
“In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for,” Mayer wrote in a letter to the staff. “Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company.”
Venessa Pappas, GM of U.S. operations, will serve as the interim leader of TikTok.
The change in leadership comes as TikTok finds itself in the middle of a political battle that will likely result in parent company ByteDance selling TikTok operations in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Mayer’s resignation “is another indicator that TikTok’s U.S. operations being sold eventually to Microsoft is likely on a path to being completed sooner rather than later given the Trump executive order,” wrote Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives after the announcement.
In an interesting twist to the TikTok story, Walmart announced that it would team up with Microsoft to buy the app.
“We believe a potential relationship with TikTok US in partnership with Microsoft could add this key functionality and provide Walmart with an important way for us to reach and serve omnichannel customers as well as grow our third-party marketplace and advertising businesses. We are confident that a Walmart and Microsoft partnership would meet both the expectations of US TikTok users while satisfying the concerns of US government regulators,” Walmart said in a statement shared by CNBC.
Several other companies, including Oracle and Twitter are reportedly still in the running to purchase TikTok as well.
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