TikTok owner ByteDance’s founder has declared he’s stepping down from his role as CEO leading the organization whose success with popular short-video app TikTok led it to become the world’s most valuable startup. Zhang Yiming (张一鸣), who co-founded ByteDance in 2012, will move to one more position at the organization, and fellow co-founder Liang Rubo will become the new CEO. Liang presently runs HR at ByteDance.
Zhang Yiming, co-founder of ByteDance, will step down as CEO and progress to a new role, the organization said on Thursday. Another co-founder, Liang Rubo, who is right now head of HR, will take over as CEO of ByteDance internationally and Zhang will move into a key strategic role toward the finish of 2021.
The move represents the greatest corporate shake-up at ByteDance since its launch in 2012. The organization developed to become a dominant social media force in China and turned TikTok, a short-video app popular with teenagers, into a global sensation.
In a lengthy internal letter that ByteDance later unveiled, Zhang ruminated on his position and how he feels he’d be more viable in another role. Zhang Yiming says “I worry I am still relying too much on the ideas I had before starting the company, and haven’t challenged myself by updating those concepts.”
“There are still many things that we need to improve, and I think someone else can better drive progress through areas like improved daily management. The truth is, I lack some of the skills that make an ideal manager,” Zhang Yiming said in a note to employees.
“I think someone else can better drive progress through areas like improved daily management,” he continues. “The truth is, I lack some of the skills that make an ideal manager. I’m more interested in analyzing organizational and market principles and leveraging these theories to further reduce management work, rather than actually managing people. Similarly, I’m not very social, preferring solitary activities like being online, reading, listening to music, and daydreaming about what may be possible.”
ByteDance said Zhang Yiming and Liang Rubo “will work side by side over the next six months to ensure the smoothest possible transition.”
Zhang Yiming describes Liang Rubo as an “invaluable partner” and began conversations about him taking over as ByteDance CEO back in March. The transition will happen over the next six months, and Zhang’s new role will focus on “long-term strategy, corporate culture, and social responsibility,” as per the organization.
The declaration proclaims a significant change for ByteDance’s corporate leadership, however, it shouldn’t influence the day-to-day activities of TikTok to an extreme. A month ago ByteDance announced that former Xiaomi CFO Chew Shouzi would expect the role of dedicated TikTok CEO after having hired him in March to take over as CFO of the parent organization.
Chew Shouzi took over from Vanessa Pappas, who was running the organization on an interim basis after former Disney executive Kevin Mayer left the role under four months into his residency. Mayer’s decision was because of the social network’s political troubles in the US, however, the Trump administration’s tries to ban it or force a divesture ultimately flamed out.
The move comes after a tumultuous nine months for ByteDance after it was named a national security threat by former President Donald Trump’s administration last August and ordered to divest its TikTok business in the U.S. This started an offering war between organizations including Microsoft and Oracle.
TikTok is ByteDance’s wildly popular short-video app.
In February, the Wall Street Journal revealed that a deal to sell TikTok to Oracle and Walmart had been racked uncertainly.
Notwithstanding the issue with the U.S., ByteDance has kept on extending its business empire under Zhang Yiming. The organization was established in 2012 when it launched a platform for sharing jokes as short videos, memes, and written posts.
In China, short video app Douyin has racked up hundreds of millions of clients. The international version called TikTok has likewise been done. In January, ByteDance launched a new payments service within Douyin to experiment with financial technology.
What’s more, in March, ByteDance gained significant gaming studio Moonton to push into the lucrative mobile gaming market and challenge any semblance of Tencent and NetEase.
ByteDance has had various management changes over the past few months. Last August, Kevin Mayer who was recruited from Disney to be the TikTok CEO, stepped down as pressure from Washington grew on the social media app.
TikTok’s U.S. general manager Vanessa Pappas took over the role on an interim basis.
In March, Chew Shou Zi, the former finance chief at Xiaomi, was poached by ByteDance to become the organization’s CFO.
Simply a month ago, Chew Shouzi was designated the CEO of TikTok, taking over from Pappas, who is presently the chief operating officer.