It was only three months ago, in May, when Kevin Mayer resigned as Disney’s head of streaming to become the CEO of TikTok. But on Thursday the executive resigned from his position through a letter he sent to employees. Meyer made the decision following US President Donald Trump’s threat earlier in the month to ban the popular app in 90 days unless it was bought out by a US company.
“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,” read the letter, shared with 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.”
After hinting at a ban at a press conference,banning transactions with ByteDance, the Beijing-based company that owns TikTok, on the grounds of national security concerns. The argument is that ByteDance, via TikTok, collects reams of user data and that this can be used by China’s ruling Communist party against US interests.
If the actions described in the executive order go ahead, it would likely mean Google and Apple would be barred from hosting the app on their respective app stores, effectively banning the app across the western world.
TikTok is fighting back,. TikTok’s lawsuit alleges the US government didn’t allow it to respond to the national security concerns cited as the reason for the potential ban. The company has repeatedly said that it doesn’t share user data with the Chinese government.
“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,” Mayer said in his letter. “As we look to the next phase of this company, there is no doubt that the future is incredibly bright. For our users, any potential structural changes should not affect their experience, and I strongly believe that our community will be more creative and diverse than ever. The platform will continue to provide our global community an amazing and integrated experience as it does today. Similarly, from an employee perspective, I believe that the vast majority of work will be unchanged.”
Meyer came to TikTok after 15 years with Disney during which he helped oversee the company’s acquisition of Pixar, LucasFilms and Marvel, as executive vice president of corporate strategy, business development, and technology. He was ultimately named chairman of Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International, the arm of the company responsible for streaming services.