Tuesday 19 May 2020 1:01 pm

Tiktok poaches Disney streaming boss as new chief executive

The veteran Disney executive behind the launch of its new streaming service is leaving the media empire to become the new chief executive of Tiktok.

Kevin Mayer masterminded the rollout of Disney Plus last year but was overlooked for the role of Disney’s new chief executive.

Read more: Analysis: Can Disney Plus rescue the House of Mouse?

Mayer will take over at Tiktok from 1 June, when he will also become chief operating officer at Chinese parent company Bytedance.

The high-profile appointment is a coup for the hit video app, which is wildly popular among teenagers and has enjoyed a surge in usage during the coronavirus lockdown.

Bytedance, which was valued at $78bn (£62bn) in its latest funding round is also plotting the launch of a new music streaming service to rival Spotify.

Mayer’s future at Disney had been in doubt since February, when the media group named Bob Chapek as its new chief executive. 

Mayer had been tipped as a potential successor to outgoing boss Bob Iger after leading the successful launch of Disney Plus, which now has more than 50m subscribers.

Disney has named Rebecca Campbell as Mayer’s replacement at the helm of its direct-to-consumer and international division.

The appointment comes after Bytedance set out plans to hire 10,000 new employees to help it cope with increased demand during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The recruitment drive would see the Beijing-based company hit 40,000 new jobs this year — bringing it in line with headcount at fellow Chinese tech giant Alibaba. 

Read more: Tiktok owner Bytedance to hire 10,000 new staff amid lockdown boom

Tiktok has racked up roughly 1.5bn monthly users as people turn to the social media app for entertainment during the lockdown.

However, the Beijing-based firm has come under scrutiny from global regulators amid concerns over harmful material posted to its platform, its use of data and its alleged links to the Chinese government.

Share: