Disney Executive Named First TikTok CEO
TikTok and parent company ByteDance took another step toward world domination this week after announcing its first-ever CEO on Monday afternoon.
Kevin Mayer, a longtime Disney executive who served as the company’s head of streaming, will leave the Mouse House to become the Chief Operating Officer of ByteDance and Chief Executive Officer of TikTok effective June 1st. The new hire looks to be a huge win for TikTok. Notably, Mayer was one of the top candidates to take Bob Iger‘s role as Disney CEO before Bob Chapek nabbed the gig.
Mayer was a key player at Disney before making the move to TikTok. According to a press release, the streaming chief oversaw the launch of ESPN+ and Disney+ along with the integration of Hulu. He also reportedly played a big role in Disney acquiring Lucasfilm, Pixar, Marvel and 21st Century Fox, huge deals that were instrumental in the company’s trajectory over the past decade.
Rebecca Campbell, a 23-year Disney veteran, will succeed Mayer as Chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and International. Mayer discussed his decision to leave Disney for TikTok in an official press release:
“I am very proud of what our extraordinarily talented Direct-to-Consumer and International team has accomplished in creating and delivering a world-class portfolio of streaming services, particularly Disney+,” Mayer said. “Rebecca was a critical member of the DTCI team from its inception, and I am certain the business is in great hands and will continue to expand and thrive under her expert leadership. It’s truly been a privilege for me to be part of the iconic Walt Disney Company, and I am enormously grateful to Bob Iger for his trust and confidence, and to Bob Chapek and his senior management team for their collaboration and support over the years.”
Mayer and his team’s successful launch of the Disney+ streaming service resulted in over 54.5 MILLION subscribers as of May 4th. Despite being a valuable asset to the Disney team, Mayer told CNBC that the opportunity to run ByteDance and TikTok was too good to pass up:
“I enjoy my job, I admire Bob Chapek, and Disney’s a fabulous company,” Mayer told CNBC. “When you have an opportunity like this you don’t turn it down. I’m not getting any younger and it’s such a good opportunity. But I love Disney and had no desire to leave.”
TikTok’s growth in the US has been enormous over the past year, and it’s only going to get bigger. The popular social media app known for short-form videos and its unique implementation of music has scored over 800 MILLION daily active users and around 1.5 BILLION downloads in the app store and Google Play. The app has quickly become the go-to platform for recording artists to share and promote their music.
“Like everyone else, I’ve been impressed watching the company build something incredibly rare in TikTok — a creative, positive online global community — and I’m excited to help lead the next phase of ByteDance’s journey as the company continues to expand its breadth of products across every region of the world,” Mayer said in a statement.
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