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TikTok has a new CEO.
The red-hot mobile video app has named Shouzi Chew, the CFO of parent company ByteDance, as its new CEO. Chew will also continue to serve as CFO of the parent company. Vanessa Pappas, who had been the interim head of TikTok, will shift to a new role as COO of the company.
“The leadership team of Shou and Vanessa sets the stage for sustained growth,” said Yiming Zhang, founder and CEO of ByteDance, in a statement announcing the new leadership team. “Shou brings deep knowledge of the company and industry, having led a team that was among our earliest investors, and having worked in the technology sector for a decade. He will add depth to the team, focusing on areas including corporate governance and long-term business initiatives.”
“It’s truly gratifying to have the opportunity to support the most creative and inspiring community out there, and to work alongside a management team that fully believes in that community,” Pappas added. “I’m excited to deepen my partnership with Shou, and develop an even richer TikTok platform to provide people around the world a meaningful and entertaining experience. The TikTok journey is just beginning.”
Pappas had been leading the company since August, when Kevin Mayer stepped down from the CEO post after just a few months. Mayer had been a high-profile poach from The Walt Disney Co., but after TikTok was targeted by the Trump administration and threatened with being shut down, he opted to depart. He was recently named chairman of sports streaming service DAZN.
TikTok has had a meteoric rise in the U.S. and around the world, driven by an algorithm credited with having an uncanny ability to predict what users want to watch, and able to identify and promote new creators. It has also quickly caught the attention of Hollywood, which is trying to recruit TikTok stars to other, more traditional platforms.
Still, its fast rise has also brought with it along legal woes. In addition to the proposed ban from the Trump administration over parent company ByteDance’s ties to China (the Biden administration has not weighed in on whether they will see to proceed), TikTok has had to settle a children’s privacy suit from the FTC, and a class-action suit also focused on privacy concerns.
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