TikTok chief Kevin Mayer resigns after Trump threatens to ban app

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Kevin Mayer left TikTok just months after becoming chief executive of the Chinese video app accused by the Trump administration of threatening national security, according to a letter to employees seen by the Financial Times.

Mr Mayer informed employees at TikTok and ByteDance, which controls the app, of his decision to leave on Thursday, people briefed on the matter said.

Vanessa Pappas, currently managing director of TikTok, will become interim manager, according to the letter.

The former Disney executive made the decision to leave after President Donald Trump ordered a ban on TikTok unless ByteDance sells its US assets to a US company within 90 days, people briefed on the lodge added. ‘case.

“In recent weeks, as the political environment has changed dramatically, I have been thinking in depth about what the structural changes in the company will require and what it means for the global role I am committed to. In this context, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let all of you know that I have decided to leave the company, ”said Mayer in a statement. letter to employees.

“I understand that the role I signed up for – including managing TikTok globally – will be very different as a result of the US administration’s move to push the US business to sell.” Added Mr. Mayer.

Discussions in Washington over TikTok’s fate began weeks after Mr Mayer officially joined the company in June. Mr Mayer did not foresee to what extent TikTok would be involved in the tensions between China and the United States, those familiar with the matter said, as the Trump administration and regulators expressed concerns about data privacy and national security.

“He didn’t sign up for this,” said one person with first-hand knowledge of the matter.

“He’s put himself in a politically sensitive area,” said a person familiar with his time at Disney, speaking when Mr. Mayer first joined ByteDance. “He will have to align with both his Chinese masters and public control in the United States.”

Mr Trump, who has become tougher against China this year, said this month his administration had “credible evidence” that ByteDance could take action to undermine US security.

“We appreciate that the political dynamics of the past few months have dramatically changed the scope of Kevin’s role and fully respect his decision. We thank him for his time with the company and wish him good luck, ”TikTok said in a statement to the FT.

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