Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok has long faced backlash regarding perceived security threats compromising user data, which culminated in President Donald Trump’s order earlier this month that would ban the app in the U.S. if its parent company did not sell to American investors within 90 days.
Amid continued uncertainty surrounding the company, CEO Kevin Mayer has tendered his resignation after just three months at the helm of TikTok, as reported by Breitbart.
“I have done significant reflection”
Mayer came to the company after a lengthy career at Disney, where he rose through ranks to become a top executive.
According to Breitbart, the Financial Times broke the news of his abrupt departure and shared a resignation letter he sent to employees at TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance.
Reports indicate that Vanessa Pappas, currently serving as TikTok’s general manager, will assume the chief executive role on an interim basis when Mayer steps down.
“In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for,” Mayer wrote in his resignation letter, according to CNET. “Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company.”
His reference to a potential resolution is an apparent nod to recent reports that potential U.S.-based buyers — namely Microsoft and Walmart — are engaging in a bid to take control of the brand.
“Nothing to do with the company”
In his letter, Mayer cited concerns about the “political environment” and impending “corporate structural changes” as among the influences in his decision to resign, but struck an optimistic tone in his farewell letter to staff, as reported by Business Insider.
“I want to be clear that this decision has nothing to do with the company, what I see for our future, or the belief I have in what we are building,” the outgoing CEO wrote.
TikTok issued its own statement acknowledging Mayer’s resignation.
“We appreciate that the political dynamics of the last few months have significantly changed what the scope of Kevin’s role would be going forward, and fully respect his decision,” the company said, according to CNBC. “We thank him for his time at the company and wish him well.”
The entanglement of entertainment and national security has presented a complex situation for Trump to address with his orders this month regarding TikTok. Only time will tell whether an agreement among all parties involved will allow the app to continue streaming videos across the U.S.