TikTok taps Disney’s streaming chief as new CEO

Former Disney executive will hold several roles with ByteDance

Kevin Mayer, Disney’s top streaming executive Kevin Mayer is departing the company to become CEO of TikTok, ByteDance’s popular video app.

Effective June 1, Mayer will take over as chief of TikTok, and will also become COO of ByteDance, reporting directly to ByteDance founder and CEO Yiming Zhang.

In his role as COO of ByteDance, Mayer will drive the company’s global development, and will also lead music and gaming, Helo and emerging businesses. As CEO of TikTok. Mayer is expected to lead the growing platform as it continues to build its user base.

ByteDance CEO Yiming Zhang said of the hire: “Kevin's wealth of experience building successful global businesses makes him an outstanding fit for our mission of inspiring creativity for users globally. As one of the world’s most accomplished entertainment executives,

"Kevin is incredibly well placed to take ByteDance's portfolio of products to the next level. I look forward to working very closely with Kevin on our global development and the next chapter of the ByteDance story."

Mayer joins ByteDance and TikTok after a storied history with Disney. Mayer most recently served as chairman of direct-to-consumer and international at the company. In this role, he oversaw the development and rollout of Disney+ and led many of Disney’s other direct-to-consumer services, including Hulu and ESPN+. 

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to join the amazing team at ByteDance. Like everyone else, I've been impressed watching the company build something incredibly rare in TikTok – a creative, positive online global community – and 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,” Mayer shared in the announcement of his hiring.

Alex Zhu, the president of TikTok, will transition into a new role as the VP of product and strategy at ByteDance. TikTok’s national and regional leaders are expected to remain in their respective roles and report to Mayer once he takes over TikTok’s global operations.

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