Walt Disney Co’s top streaming executive, Kevin Mayer, will leave the entertainment and theme parks giant to become the chief executive officer of TikTok, the popular video app owned by China’s ByteDance Technology Co, the companies said on Monday.
TikTok, which allows users to create short videos with special effects, has become wildly popular with U.S. teenagers doing viral challenges that pair dances with music clips from the app’s library. TikTok has hinted at ambitions to build a music streaming business, announcing in January that it was partnering with U.K.-based music rights agency Merlin to expand its musical selections, Reuters reported.
In November, the U.S. government launched a national security review of Byte Dance’s $1 billion acquisition of social media app Musical.ly, which became TikTok. Two senators introduced a bill to ban federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued phones.
According to Reuters, to appease concerns, ByteDance has stepped up efforts to separate TikTok from much of its Chinese businesses and has made several high-profile executives hire in recent months. It appointed former Microsoft intellectual property chief Erich Andersen as global general counsel in January, after hiring Vanessa Pappas, a veteran YouTube executive, to run its U.S. operations last year.