Jessica Goodfellow
Sep 14, 2020

TikTok makes slew of senior hires in ANZ

Short video app, which is currently being investigated in Australia, has secured top executives from across the media and technology industries.

Felicity McVay, Simon Bates, Lucy Chesterton (top right), Delia Deng (bottom right)
Felicity McVay, Simon Bates, Lucy Chesterton (top right), Delia Deng (bottom right)

TikTok has made a series of hires in Australia and New Zealand aimed at better supporting local creators and curating the content within the app.

Simon Bates, the former head of MTV APAC, has been recruited to become its director of content programming for the platform in ANZ. In this role he will lead the programming, promotion and curation of TikTok content, such as the 'Discover' page and live video and hashtags.

He joins from overseeing the growth of the MTV brands and channels in key regions like Japan, China, South East Asia and ANZ, including launching new content initiatives like MTV Unplugged Melbourne and running major events like the MTV VMA Awards Japan. Prior to that his career included roles at The Sydney Morning Herald, Sky TV and the BBC.

Bates will work closely with Felicity McVay, who joined the platform in July as director of content partnerships. McVay oversees the creator and community ecosystem for TikTok ANZ, including nurturing creator opportunities and building support for communities across key verticals including LGBTQIA, sports and fitness, fashion and beauty, and education and science.

Former YouTube and Google executive Felicity McVay joins as director of content partnerships. In this role she will oversee the creator and community ecosystem for TikTok ANZ, including nurturing creator opportunities and building support for communities across key verticals including LGBTQIA, sports and fitness, fashion and beauty, and education and science.

McVay formerly lead the content partnerships business for YouTube AUNZ and later became the head of Google Play Movies & TV for APAC. She joined TikTok following a career break where she focussed on passion projects, including a STEM education program for girls.

New recruits Lucy Chesterton, communities and education lead, and Delia Deng, creator growth and partnerships lead, will join McVay's team. Chesterton joins TikTok following tenures in senior editorial roles at Yahoo Australia and Pacific Magazines. Deng was most recently strategic partnership manager at YouTube.

Elsewhere in the content and operations team, Ollie Wards joined TikTok in August as director of music. He moved from a decade-long stint at Australia's national radio station Triple J, where he was most recently content director.

The new hires report to Lee Hunter, the general manager of TikTok's ANZ content and operation division, who said each appointment is strategic by nature "to ensure we can continue to grow and nurture the amazing content from our Aussie and Kiwi TikTok community".

"Our new leaders bring a wealth of expertise in celebrating creativity, culture and diversity and I'm looking forward to further building the team out to support them in embedding TikTok at the heart of local culture," Hunter said.

TikTok is actively recruiting for a range of new roles within the content and operation team in ANZ.

It appears uncertainties surrounding TikTok's future has not dampened recruitment. TikTok is currently being investigated by intelligence agencies in Australia to find out whether the app poses a security threat. It has been banned in India and is facing a ban in the US over the same concerns, linked to its Chinese roots. TikTok global CEO Kevin Mayer announced his resignation last month amid the heightening political pressure after just three months in the role.

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