Shou Zi Chew, who became CFO of TikTok’s parent company ByteDance in March, is adding a new role: TikTok CEO, the social media company announced Friday.
The announcement comes eight months after the departure of Kevin Mayer, former TikTok CEO, who quit right as the Trump administration attempted a nationwide ban on the Chinese-owned app, citing national security and data concerns.
Vanessa Pappas, who had been serving as TikTok’s interim CEO since Mayer’s departure in August 2020, will assume the COO role going forward, the company said.
Mayer left the app less than four months after announcing his plans to join from his former role as Disney’s head of streaming. In a note to employees obtained by The New York Times, he said a series of structural changes at TikTok prompted his exit.
“In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, 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,” he wrote in the email, according to the Times. “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.”
“Shou brings deep knowledge of the company and industry, having led a team that was among our earliest investors, and having worked in the technology sector for a decade,” Yiming Zhang, ByteDance’s founder and CEO, said in a statement. “He will add depth to the team, focusing on areas including corporate governance and long-term business initiatives."
“It's humbling to be entrusted with this responsibility, and to partner with great leaders like [Pappas] to drive TikTok's unprecedented development as the global home for inspirational and creative content,” Chew said. "We will continue building out our strong and deep management team as we set the stage for the next phase of TikTok's success."
In 2020, TikTok’s operating profits ballooned to $7 billion, and ByteDance’s revenue hit $35 billion, according to Bloomberg.
TikTok remains in the planning stages of an IPO onto the Hong Kong Stock Exchange; a permanent CEO may suggest an IPO is closer than expected. In February, TikTok shared plans to expand into e-commerce and develop livestream shopping capabilities, the Financial Times reported.
Chew has served as president of smartphone giant Xiaomi’s international business since 2019; prior to that, he spent nearly five years as its CFO.
While Chew was in the finance chief seat, in 2018, Xiaomi went public on the Hong Kong stock exchange, which made it the third-most valuable publicly traded smartphone maker, behind Apple and Samsung.
He began his career as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, and later received his MBA from Harvard Business School.