TikTok announced a new CEO and COO, in what its Chinese parent company ByteDance said was “a strategic reorganization” to optimize the popular short-form video app’s global teams and support its continued growth.
Shou Zi Chew, who joined ByteDance last month as CFO, will now also become CEO of TikTok. Vanessa Pappas, who has served as interim head of TikTok, will formally assume the role of chief operating officer, continuing with her current responsibilities.
It’s the first official CEO appointment for TikTok since ex-Disney exec Kevin Mayer came — and quickly went — in the post last year. Mayer had left Disney in May 2020 to become CEO of TikTok and ByteDance’s COO then resigned from the positions three months later after Donald Trump ordered Beijing-based ByteDance to sell TikTok to American buyers over claims that the app was somehow a national security threat. (The Biden administration has tabled that order amid a broader national cybersecurity review.)
With Mayer’s departure, Pappas, formerly TikTok’s GM for North America, Australia and New Zealand, had served as interim head for the company worldwide.
“The leadership team of Shou and Vanessa sets the stage for sustained growth,” Yiming Zhang, founder and CEO of ByteDance, said in announcing the appointments. “Shou brings deep knowledge of the company and industry, having led a team that was among our earliest investors, and having worked in the technology sector for a decade. He will add depth to the team, focusing on areas including corporate governance and long-term business initiatives.”
Yiming continued, “Vanessa has provided strong leadership and will continue to oversee her current portfolio of responsibilities, including managing all of the platform’s key operations.”
Prior to joining ByteDance this year, Shou Zi held a number of senior roles in the technology and investment community, most recently as president of international for Xiaomi Technology. In 2013 he led a team that became one of the earliest investors in ByteDance. He is based in his hometown of Singapore.
Pappas, who is based out of TikTok’s Los Angeles office, joined TikTok at the end of 2018. She previously worked at YouTube for more than seven years, most recently serving as global head of creative Insights. According to ByteDance, at TikTok she has been a key leader in driving the growth and success of the platform into a global phenomenon with hundreds of millions of users.