TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer stepped down after just two months of work ahead of an imminent ban by US President Donald Trump.
The Chinese-owned company has been accused by the Trump administration of being a threat to US national security.
Mr. Mayer joined TikTok in June after leaving his role as head of Disney streaming services.
TikTok had 90 days to be sold to an American company or to face a ban in the United States.
“Over the past few weeks, as the political environment has changed dramatically, I have made a significant reflection on what structural changes in the company will require and what it will mean for the global role I have signed up for,” Mayer said in a letter. to employees.
“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,” added Mayer.
Both TikTok and the Chinese messaging app WeChat face bans in the United States as tensions between Washington and Beijing escalate over a wide range of issues, including national security concerns of Chinese tech companies.
“We appreciate that the political dynamics of the past few months have significantly changed the scope of Kevin’s role in the future and we fully respect his decision. We thank him for his time at the company and wish him well,” a spokesperson for Sa TikTok .
In a statement to the BBC, TikTok confirmed the abrupt departure and referred to the political dynamics of recent months.
TikTok also said he appreciated that this means that the scope of Mayer’s role will change in the future and that he has fully respected his decision.
Mr. Mayer was featured on TikTok to help give the Chinese-owned app an American image.
The idea was that he would be able to negotiate a tough Trump administration with China better perhaps than a Chinese CEO – and that would help ease TikTok’s path into one of its biggest markets: the United States.
Instead, the Trump administration’s intense pressure on TikTok has only grown.
President Trump says TikTok is a national security threat due to who it owns, the Chinese internet company ByteDance.
Earlier this month, he signed an executive order that would effectively ban TikTok’s operations in the United States had it not been sold to another company by mid-September.
All of this is unlikely what Mr. Mayer signed up for when he left Walt Disney to take on the role of TikTok.
President Trump’s Executive Order has banned transactions with TikTok owner ByteDance since mid-September. The company went to court to challenge the ban.
Washington officials fear that TikTok may pass US user data to the Chinese government, something ByteDance has denied doing.
TikTok said the Trump administration’s move was motivated by politics, not national security.
US tech giant Microsoft has confirmed it is continuing talks to purchase TikTok’s US operations.