We promised you twists in this tale. TikTok is taking to the courts to battle the Trump administration’s executive order forcing its sale or shutdown in the US, but it will be doing so without its recently appointed CEO. Former Disney executive Kevin Mayer has resigned barely three months after taking the reins at TikTok in May.
“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,” wrote Mayer in his parting letter to staff, which quickly leaked.
“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. I understand that the role that I signed up for — including running TikTok globally — will look very different as a result of the US administration’s action to push for a sell-off of the U.S. business.”
According to the Financial Times, TikTok’s general manager Vanessa Pappas will lead the company on an interim basis, following Mayer’s departure. At this point, the resignation is not acrimonious: “We appreciate that the political dynamics of the last few months have significantly changed what the scope of Kevin’s role would be going forward, and fully respect his decision,” is TikTok’s official statement on the matter.
Mayer’s frustration is unsurprising: yesterday the New York Times published a long piece outlining “how TikTok’s talks with Microsoft turned into a soap opera” as the Trump administration got involved. Those talks continue, with other potential acquirers (tech firm Oracle included) also in play.