The Wall Street Journal: Disney+ chief Kevin Mayer named new CEO of TikTok

The Wall Street Journal

Exec had been passed over for Disney CEO role

Kevin Mayer takes part in a Disney+ showcase last August.


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Kevin Mayer, who was passed over for the top job at Walt Disney Co., is becoming chief executive of TikTok, in a jump from one of the entertainment industry’s most venerable names to one of its buzziest new arrivals.

The longtime media executive, recently in charge of the Disney+ streaming service, is joining Chinese tech giant Bytedance Ltd. in newly created roles as chief operating officer and head of its blockbuster short video app TikTok. He will be in charge of Bytedance’s global expansion, including in its music and gaming businesses. He starts June 1.

Both TikTok and Disney+ have seen pandemic-fueled surges in popularity as people stuck in lockdowns have been glued to their phones and TVs for entertainment.

Mayer is currently chairman of the entertainment giant’s direct-to-consumer and international segment, including Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, making him one of the highest-profile American executives to move to a Chinese company.

He had been considered the in-house favorite to get the Disney
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CEO job by many colleagues within Hollywood, given the role he played in orchestrating Disney’s biggest deals and his recent work in charge of its streaming strategy. But in late February, Disney said that Bob Chapek, then the head of its parks and consumer products division, would become CEO.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com:

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