Tik Tok has ousted Disney executive Kevin Mayer and appointed him chief executive, according to Reuters, behind a strategy to shift the company’s power center out of China amid rising global tensions, according to reuters sources familiar with the matter.
Sources told Reuters that ByteDance has been quietly taking a series of moves in recent months to move decision-making and research functions in international operations overseas. The strategy is aimed not only at TikTok for overseas users, but also at ByteDance’s other overseas operations that are not China-centric, the sources said. These overseas businesses include Indian social software Helo.
ByteDance has expanded TikTok’s engineering and research and development operations in Mountain View, California, according to three sources. One of them said TikTok had hired more than 150 engineers there.
ByteDance has also hired a New York-based director of investor relations to keep in touch with key investors, including The PanAtlantic and private equity firm KKR, it has been revealed. The investor relations director recently hired by ByteDance is Michelle Huang, a former SoftBank investor who has been involved in the company’s investment stake in ByteDance.
The personnel changes come at a particular time, when the U.S. and China have been at odds over trade, technology and the new crown outbreak, and tensions have increased, as well as tighter U.S. regulatory scrutiny of TikTok. TikTok is fast-growing around the world and sees the United States as one of its largest markets.
Kevin Mayer, a former streaming director at Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), was also named chief operating officer of Byte Dance (COO), whose office in Los Angeles will be responsible for global business development. ByteDance also recruits engineers around the world, including Singapore, Jakarta and Warsaw, as can be seen from recruitment information on the web.