Kevin Mayer Named As TikTok CEO And ByteDance COO

By Amit Chowdhry ● May 19, 2020
  • Kevin Mayer, Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer and International at The Walt Disney Company, resigned from the media giant to become CEO of TikTok and COO of TikTok’s parent company ByteDance

Kevin Mayer, Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer and International at The Walt Disney Company, resigned from the media giant to become CEO of TikTok and COO of TikTok’s parent company ByteDance. Mayer was reportedly on the shortlist of succeeding Disney CEO Robert Iger before Bob Chapek was selected.

Prior to leading Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer and International division, he worked on the company’s purchases of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox, and BAMTech. Mayer also led Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses, including Hulu, ESPN+, and Hotstar.

Iger was expected to step down in February, but then he was brought back to help the media giant navigate through the coronavirus pandemic.

“Kevin has had an extraordinary impact on our company over the years, most recently as head of our direct-to-consumer business. He has done a masterful job of overseeing and growing our portfolio of streaming services, while bringing together the creative and technological assets required to launch the hugely successful Disney+ globally. Having worked alongside Kevin for many years on the senior management team, I am enormously grateful to him for his support and friendship and wish him tremendous success going forward,” said Chapek in a statement.

Mayer’s successor at Disney is Rebecca Campbell — who had become president of Disneyland Resort last year. Before that, Campbell previously oversaw Disney Park’s Europe, Middle East and Africa operations.

The president of Walt Disney World Resort Josh D’Amaro was named chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. That role was vacant after Chapek was promoted to CEO of the company.

Mayer is going to report directly to ByteDance founder and CEO Yiming Zhang. And Mayer is going to be driving the global development as well as corporate functions, including development, sales, marketing, public affairs, legal, moderation, and security at ByteDance. As the role of COO, Mayer is going to lead music, gaming, Helo, and emerging businesses.

“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,” added Zhang.

Alex Zhu, the current President of TikTok, will transition to ByteDance VP of Product & Strategy where he is going to focus on his primary passion overseeing strategy and product design. And Kelly Zhang and Lidong Zhang will continue to lead the China business as CEO and Chairman of ByteDance China, respectively, reporting to Yiming Zhang, as ByteDance’s global CEO.

“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. On a personal note, I’m thankful to the entire Disney team for the tremendous accomplishments we achieved together. I’m especially grateful to Bob Iger for his visionary leadership and mentorship over many years, and to Bob Chapek whom I greatly admire. As I begin a new chapter, I’m humbled by the trust Yiming and the Board have placed in me as we move forward with a shared vision of how to scale ByteDance’s growth,” explained Mayer.

Mayer’s new role is effective June 1.

Photo Credit: Disney