- Disney streaming chief Kevin Mayer has been named CEO of short-form video app TikTok.
- TikTok’s first quarter of 2020 saw the most downloads for any app ever in a quarter, garnering more than 315 million downloads.
- Mayer built a solid reputation for his dealmaking throughout his career at Disney.
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Disney streaming chief Kevin Mayer has been named CEO of short-form video app TikTok. Mayer was one of the top candidates for Disney’s CEO job earlier this year when Bob Iger left his post. Mayer will also serve as the chief operating officer of ByteDance, the Chinese tech conglomerate that owns TikTok.
A 23-year Disney veteran who most recently served as president of Disneyland Resort, Rebecca Campbell, will succeed Mayer as chairman of direct-to-consumer and international.
Mayer is joining TikTok at a time when the app’s popularity has exploded amid the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of April, the app passed 2 billion downloads globally—just five months after it hit 1.5 billion downloads. TikTok’s first quarter of 2020 saw the most downloads for any app ever in a quarter, garnering more than 315 million downloads across Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play.
The app’s success had been a source of concern over privacy and censorship issues, however. US politicians have called for formal investigations into TikTok out of national security concerns.
Mayer’s move is a big win for the short-form video app. Many viewed Mayer as the favorite to succeed former Disney CEO Bob Iger, who remains at Disney as executive chairman, leading the company’s creative endeavors.
Mayer built a solid reputation for his dealmaking, playing an important role in helping Disney acquire Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel, and online video company BAMTech, which creates the streaming technology utilized by Disney’s online platforms.
Mayer will start on his new role as TikTok’s CEO on June 1.