TikTok names CFO Shouzi Chew as chief executive

8
4 minutes

- TikTok, the popular short-video app, named by ByteDance Ltd. Chief Financial Officer Kevin Mayer as chief executive officer after the departure of Shouzi Chew last year.Vanessa Pappas, who served as interim head, was named Chief Operating Officer of the company.

Chew, who became American TikTok chairman ByteDance last month, will remain in his position at China & OTC, according to a statement released Friday.He spent several years as the CFO and international business president of Xiaomi Corp., where he took the gadget maker to the public in one of the largest China tech listings at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange ever.

Chew, who comes from China, speaks fluent English and Singapore.He is experienced in navigating 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 Zhang Yiming's DST Global, which took on the founder and CEO Yuri Milner as an early investor in the company.The move to hire Chew is a sign ByteDance is moving toward an initial public offering of some of its businesses.

TikTok still enjoys explosive popularity, but Chew will have to navigate the political tensions between the U.S. and China as well as increasing concerns about data privacy, particularly involving children who download the app.

The leadership team of Shou and Vanessa set the stage for sustained growth, Zhang said in the statement.'Shou brings deep knowledge of the company and industry, with a team that was one of our earliest investors, and has 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.

Pappas will maintain her current responsibilities, including the Key Operations of TikTok, the company said.

Mayer left one of the Top Jobs at Walt Disney Co. last year to lead TikTok, which has become one of the most widely used apps in the world with more than 100 million users in the U.S. alone.He left only a few months later after former American president Donald Trump ordered ByteDance to sell TikTok in the US or face a banning, citing national security concerns over its Chinese ownership.

Zhang had discussed deals with a number of U.S. technology giants, including Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp. but ultimately decided to wait out the crisis, anticipating less hostility after the presidential elections.Biden Never signed a final agreement, and the deal remains in limbo while TikTok holds a review from the administration of the Biden.There is no indication that ByteDance will be forced to deal with the sale.

TikTok's algorithm: TikTok's Hit Machine Is Crafted To Make Various Songs Go Viral

TikTok's success is driven by a powerful algorithm that predicts what users want next.The app goes beyond the systems used by Snapchat or Facebook Inc.TikTok closely studies used computers and analyses hundreds of data points, including what website users type and how they use them up to keystroke rhythms and patterns.

It's this mountain of data, collected from a largely Chinese user base that fueled the American Administration's concerns about what would happen to the information left in the hands of the Trump Administration -- something which TikTok said it would never give to anyone.

In 2019 ByteDance was fined 5.7 million by the Federal Trade Commission to settle allegations that Musical.ly, which ByteDance folded and filed into TikTok illegally collected information from minors.It was the longest FTC penalty in a children's privacy case at the time.This month, a lawsuit was lodged in the United Kingdom on behalf of millions of children and teenagers in Europe over privacy concerns.

For more articles like this, please visit Bloomberg.com at bloomberg.com.

Subscribe now and stay ahead in the business news source of choice.

  • Comments
Loading comments...