TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer, just two months after taking office, resigned Thursday, Aug. 27 amid pressure from the United States for the owner company, ByteDance, to sell the popular video application, which according to allegations and evidence presented by the White House poses a risk to U.S. national security.
Mayer informed employees of his decision on Thursday, as confirmed by Fox Business. His decision was made amid trade clashes between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) following allegations by the Trump administration that the Chinese application posed a threat to national security and U.S. economy.
National security, foreign policy, and the safeguarding of the U.S. economy are the theoretical arguments on which the banning decree is based. The order was issued under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the National Emergencies Act.
Mayer’s resignation follows an executive order issued by President Donald Trump earlier this month to ban TikTok unless its parent company, ByteDance, sells its U.S. operations to a U.S. company within 45 days.
On Aug. 2, Microsoft wrote in an official statement, “Microsoft will move quickly to pursue discussions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, in a matter of weeks, and in any event completing these discussions no later than September 15, 2020. During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President.”
So far, there have been no new official announcements reporting on the progress of purchase/sale of the popular TikTok application.
Regarding his resignation, Mayer, wrote a letter to his employees saying, “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. (…) 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.”
Mayer made it clear in his letter that the decision has nothing to do with a conflict of interest with the company or even with different ways of seeing the potential development of the company. He was also very grateful for Zhang Yiming’s, creator and founder of ByteDance, understanding in his decision.
Seeking to distance himself from the underlying political conflict and aiming to reassure users and employees of the company, the now former CEO of TikTok wrote 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.”
The Associated Press reported that TikTok issued a statement regarding Mayer’s decision, in which it stated, “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. We thank him for his time at the company and wish him well.”