Carol Huang
May 19, 2020

Ex-Disney executive joins ByteDance as COO

ByteDance took another step on its globalisation process by hiring Disney-veteran Kevin Mayer for operation.

Ex-Disney executive joins ByteDance as COO

ByteDance announced the appointment of Kevin Mayer, the ex-chairman of direct-to-consumer and international at Disney, as its chief operating officer, as well as CEO of TikTok.

ByteDance said Mayer will report to CEO Yiming Zhang. Mayer will be responsible for driving the global development of ByteDance, as well as overseeing corporate development, sales, marketing, public affairs, security, moderation and legal. In his role as COO, Mayer he lead music, gaming and India social media service Helo.

With Mayer's appointment, the company is bringing in experience with building a global business. "As one of the world's most accomplished entertainment executives, Kevin is incredibly well placed to take ByteDance's portfolio of products to the next level," Zhang commented.

Kevin Mayer


Alex Zhu, the current President of TikTok, will transition to ByteDance VP of product and strategy, which the company said are his areas of passion.

Kelly Zhang and Lidong Zhang will continue to lead the China business as CEO and chairman of ByteDance China, respectively. They manage ByteDance's short video apps in China as well as the business and operational team.

TikTok's national and regional leaders will remain in their roles with their current responsibilities, reporting to the new COO.

ByteDance is reported to have received a round of fundraising in March from Tiger Global Management, as investors are betting on the company's advertising business. According to Tiger Global's research team, ByteDance is expected to grab 19% of the China digital advertising market this year. Researcher Emarketer expects China's digital media ad spending to total $81 billion in 2020.

ByteDance is not shy about its ambition to expand. In April, it hired Nick Tran, ex-VP of brand and culture marketing from Hulu, to manage marketing for its North America business. The company also brought Ole Obermann, a 10-year veteran of Sony, on board in October 2019, and hired Vanessa Pappas, who managed user growth at YouTube for seven years.

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