BEIJING: Former Disney executive Kevin Mayer will become the head of TikTok and chief operating officer of the popular video app’s parent company.
Mayer’s surprise jump from one of the entertainment industry’s most venerable companies is another victory for buzzy upstart TikTok, which has seen a surge in popularity among people locked down during the coronavirus pandemic.
He headed Disney’s direct-to-consumer offerings where he oversaw the successful rollout of Disney+ television streaming service. His new appointment will include TikTok and global development at the app’s parent company, Beijing-based ByteDance. He will report directly to ByteDance founder and chief executive Yiming Zhang.
“Kevin’s wealth of experience building successful global businesses makes him an outstanding fit for our mission of inspiring creativity for users globally,” Zhang said in a release.
Mayer’s job at Disney included managing Hulu, ESPN+ and Hotstar operations on the direct-to-consumer platform, according to ByteDance. Mayer said he is excited to help lead the next phase of ByteDance’s journey,
ByteDance owns TikTok which has been downloaded more than two billion times, It has huge followings in India, the US, and Indonesia. The platform, already a favorite of teens, has increasingly been used by adults looking for ways to pass the time during coronavirus lockdowns.
TikTok saw 65 million worldwide downloads in March. Kelly Zhang and Lidong Zhang will continue as chief executive and chairman respectively of ByteDance business in China managing ByteDance products including Douyin, Toutiao, and Xigua.