Founder of TikTok owner ByteDance to step down as CEO
Zhang Yiming, co-founder of TikTok owner ByteDance, is stepping down as CEO and moving to a new role, the company said in a memo released Thursday.
Why it matters: The replacement of Zhang with human resources chief Liang Rubo, another TikTok co-founder, marks the "biggest corporate shake-up" at the firm since it launched in 2012, going on to become a major social media player in China and turning TikTok into a massive global force, per Reuters, which first reported the news.
The big picture: The move follows a tumultuous few months for the Chinese-owned company, which former President Trump regularly criticized.
- Trump last year ordered TikTok to sell its U.S. operations to a domestic buyer, citing security fears.
- President Biden's administration has since paused negotiations.
What to expect: Zhang will move into a "key strategy" position later in the year.
- In the meantime, he and Liang "will work side by side over the next six months to ensure the smoothest possible transition," ByteDance said in the memo.
What they're saying: "There are still many things that we need to improve, and I think someone else can better drive progress through areas like improved daily management. The truth is, I lack some of the skills that make an ideal manager," Zhang said in the memo to employees.
- "I'm more interested in analyzing organizational and market principles, and leveraging these theories to further reduce management work, rather than actually managing people."
Of note: Last month, TikTok named ByteDance CFO Shouzi Chew as its CEO, and Vanessa Pappas, who previously served as interim head of the company, as the video-sharing platform's COO after TikTok's former CEO Kevin Mayer resigned during tensions with Trump.