TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer quits after 4 months

August 27, 2020, 5:00 AM UTC

TikTok Chief Executive Officer Kevin Mayer resigned just months after taking the helm of the viral video phenom owned by China’s ByteDance Ltd., as it’s come under fire from the Trump administration.

Mayer told employees of his decision in an internal memo, a company spokeswoman said. Vanessa Pappas, currently the general manager of ByteDance’s most popular international service, will take his place, said the Financial Times, which first reported the news.

”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 spokeswoman said in a statement.

Mayer’s departure comes days after TikTok asked a federal judge to block the Trump administration from enacting a ban on the fast-growing social media network, bringing a geopolitical fight over technology and trade into a U.S. courtroom. TikTok and its Chinese parent, ByteDance, sued on Monday in federal court in Los Angeles to challenge an Aug. 6 order from President Donald Trump prohibiting U.S. residents from doing business with TikTok. Trump says TikTok is a security risk for user data. The company said the president’s decision was made “for political reasons,” is unconstitutional and violates rights to due process.

While the ban doesn’t take effect for weeks, it has escalated tensions between the U.S. and China. On Aug. 14, Trump ordered ByteDance to sell its U.S. assets and said the U.S. should receive a cut of the proceeds. Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp. have already shown interest in buying TikTok, which argues it poses no security threat.