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Apr 30, 2021
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TikTok names ByteDance CFO Shouzi Chew as new CEO

Reuters API
Apr 30, 2021

TikTok appointed Shouzi Chew, a Singaporean national, as the new Chief Executive Officer of the hot video-sharing platform, the company said on Friday.


Chew, based in Singapore, will retain close ties to TikTok's Chinese owner ByteDance where he will remain Chief Financial Officer.

"We will continue building out our strong and deep management team as we set the stage for the next phase of TikTok's success." Chew said in a statement.

TikTok's interim head Vanessa Pappas, who led the company on an interim basis after the abrupt departure of its CEO last year, Kevin Mayer formerly of Walt Disney Co, will be the new Chief Operating Officer.

"Shou brings deep knowledge of the company and industry, having led a team that was among our earliest investors ... He will add depth to the team, focusing on areas including corporate governance and long-term business initiatives," said Yiming Zhang, Founder and CEO of ByteDance.

TikTok faced heavy scrutiny during former U.S. president Donald Trump’s administration, which alleged the app posed a national security threat as personal data of U.S. users could theoretically be obtained by China’s government. TikTok has denied the accusations.

A U.S. plan to sell TikTok's American operations to a buyer consortium in the U.S. has languished since late last year, as its parent company ByteDance launched successful legal challenges to the U.S. government.

A national security panel named CFIUS, has been reviewing the deal to sell TikTok US to a buyer consortium including Oracle Corp and Walmart Inc. amid national security concerns, according to a source familiar with the matter. Details of the discussions couldn't be learned.

TikTok had previously made moves to shift power from Beijing, where its parent company ByteDance is based, to the United States, one of its most important and fast growing markets.

Alex Zhu, former TikTok head, a Chinese national, had left the role as the company faced ongoing scrutiny over data privacy in 2020. Zhu is the co-founder of the Musical.ly app that ByteDance acquired for up to $1 billion and re-branded as TikTok.

TikTok poached Disney’s Mayer as its CEO last year. Mayer resigned shortly after his tenure with the Chinese company at the height of a national security review which threatened to force the sale of the company at the time.

Last year, it ramped up its engineering and moderation team in Mountain View, California, trying to base these data-sensitive positions outside of China. The company had previously said the personal data of millions of U.S. users are stored in Virginia, with backups in Singapore.

Chew attended college in London, and has an MBA from Harvard. From 2015 to 2020, he served as Xiaomi’s chief financial officer, and ran its international business for a year.

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