TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer Resigns Amid Growing Pressure From U.S. Mayer, who was on the job as TikTok's chief executive for three months, said while it is the right time for him to step down a "resolution" for the company will happen "very soon."

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer Resigns Amid Trump Administration's Growing Pressure On App

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/906556399/906587928" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The CEO of TikTok has resigned. Kevin Mayer led the company for just three months. During that time, the Trump administration had put a lot of pressure on the video-sharing app to cut ties with its owner in China. NPR's Bobby Allyn reports.

BOBBY ALLYN, BYLINE: President Trump has issued two executive orders aimed at banning TikTok or forcing the app to be purchased by an American company. And talks are ongoing. Companies including Microsoft and software maker Oracle are discussing a possible acquisition. But now, TikTok's chief executive, Kevin Mayer, says he is quitting.

In a letter to employees reviewed by NPR, Mayer said, quote, "the political environment has sharply changed." He says he's thought about what the next phase of TikTok is going to look like, and it's not going to include him. He didn't say why beyond citing upcoming structural changes to the company. Back in May, TikTok's U.S. general manager, Vanessa Pappas, told NPR what she thought Mayer would bring to TikTok after his time as the top streaming executive at Disney.

VANESSA PAPPAS: Personally, I'm very excited to see Kevin Mayer join. I think he brings the right level of global expertise to really guide our expansion efforts.

ALLYN: Now Pappas herself will take the reins from Mayor. And it's during a moment the company itself describes as an existential crisis. The Trump administration and TikTok are now locked in a legal battle over whether the White House can outright ban the app in the U.S. over unproven fears that Chinese authorities can access Americans' data. And Trump signed another order directing TikTok to sell off its U.S. assets to an American company citing unspecified national security concerns. In May, Pappas said the fears about its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, cooperating with the Chinese Communist Party are unfounded.

PAPPAS: From our U.S. operations, we manage, and I personally oversee, all of our content moderation and operations. And from a data perspective, we don't store any of our user data in China. We store it in the U.S. and Singapore.

ALLYN: In his letter, Mayer says TikTok employees and users should not be significantly affected by any structural reorganization. And he suggested ownership issues will be resolved soon. Meanwhile, the millions of American teens making dance challenge and comedic skit videos do not seem to be paying much attention.

Bobby Allyn, NPR News, San Francisco.

Copyright © 2020 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.