Disney streaming chief Kevin Mayer is stepping down to become the head of the social media platform TikTok.
He was appointed chief executive officer of TikTok and chief operating officer of ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of the platform.
TikTok, an app where users post short videos, has seen an explosion of growth since its launch in the United States.
But this growing popularity has led to control by the United States government over its ties to China.
Mayer will be responsible for ByteDance’s “global development”, including emerging businesses, games and music.
“I am excited to help guide the next phase of ByteDance’s journey as the company continues to expand its product range in every region of the world,” said Mayer in the statement.
He will be the first CEO of TikTok.
United States concern
TikTok has been downloaded over 2 billion times on iOS and Android since it was launched globally in 2017. The app allows users to make videos up to 15 seconds long with background music.
The coronavirus pandemic has helped further increase its popularity with many users making comic or musical videos of their quarantine experiences.
But having a Chinese parent company has worried US politicians. Some of them raised concerns about ByteDance allowing Chinese government censorship or data collection on TikTok users. Both are charges that ByteDance denies.
At Disney, Mayer oversaw the successful launch of the corporate streaming service, Disney Plus in November 2019. In May, the service had over 54 million subscribers. He also managed the companies for other streaming investments including Hulu, Hotstar and ESPN plus, sports streaming services.
He was also considered a key figure in the acquisitions of the Lucasfilm, Pixar and Marvel company.
Before former Disney CEO Bob Iger resigned from that role in February, Mayer was seen as a possible candidate to replace him. However, the role was assigned to Bob Chapek, responsible for parks, experiences and products.
Mayer will join ByteDance on June 1st.