ByteDance’s Shouzi Chew named new TikTok CEO

April 30, 2021, 4:24 PM UTC
ByteDance CFO Shouzi Chew was named TikTok CEO on Friday.
Nikolas Kokovlis—NurPhoto/Getty Images

TikTok, the popular short-video app, has named ByteDance Ltd. Chief Financial Officer Shouzi Chew as chief executive officer, filling the top leadership position after the departure of Kevin Mayer last year. Vanessa Pappas, who has served as interim head, has been named chief operating officer.

Chew, who joined ByteDance last month as CFO, will remain in his post at the Beijing-based company, according to a statement Friday. Previously, Chew spent a number of years as CFO and international business president of Xiaomi Corp., where he took the gadget maker public in one of the largest-ever Chinese tech listings on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Chew, who hails from Singapore, is fluent in English and Chinese, and can easily navigate the halls of Chinese tech companies and the boardrooms of banks like Goldman Sachs Group Inc., where he spent time in its investment banking unit. He also previously worked for DST Investment Management, which took a chance on ByteDance founder and CEO Zhang Yiming as an early investor in the company. The move to hire Chew is a sign ByteDance is moving toward an IPO of some of its businesses.

“The leadership team of Shou and Vanessa sets the stage for sustained growth,” Zhang said in the statement. “Shou brings deep knowledge of the company and industry, having led a team that was among our earliest investors, and having worked in the technology sector for a decade. He will add depth to the team, focusing on areas including corporate governance and long-term business initiatives.”

Mayer had left one of the top jobs at Walt Disney Co. last year to lead TikTok, which has become one of the world’s most popular apps. He departed only a few months later after former U.S. President Donald Trump ordered ByteDance to sell TikTok in the U.S. or face a ban, citing national security concerns over its Chinese ownership. Trump left office without a resolution.

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