TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer resigns following Trump ban threat

Mayer's departure plans come amid trade posturing between the U.S. and China

The CEO of Chinese video app TikTok has resigned after just months on the job following a recent threat by President Trump to ban the app in the U.S.

Kevin Mayer informed employees of his decision Thursday, Fox Business has confirmed. His departure plans come amid trade posturing between the U.S. and China.

Trump recently accused the app of being a potential threat to U.S. national security, saying his administration had “credible evidence,” The Financial Times reported. The president threatened a ban on TikTok unless its operator, ByteDance, sold its assets to a U.S.-based company within 90 days.


U.S.-based Microsoft had been involved in negotiations to purchase the app. It was unclear what effect, if any, Mayer’s resignation would have on Microsoft’s plans.

Mayer detailed the reasons for his departure in a letter to employees that was obtained by Fox Business.

“In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for,” Mayer wrote, according to the news outlet. “Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company.

“I want to be clear that this decision has nothing to do with the company, what I see for our future, or the belief I have in what we are building. Yiming understands my decision and I thank him for his support on this.


“As we look to the next phase of this company, there is no doubt that the future is incredibly bright. For our users, any potential structural changes should not affect their experience, and I strongly believe that our community will be more creative and diverse than ever. The platform will continue to provide our global community an amazing and integrated experience as it does today. Similarly, from an employee perspective, I believe that the vast majority of work will be unchanged.”

When Mayer, a 58-year-old U.S.-born former executive at Disney, joined the company in June, he did not anticipate TikTok being at the center of U.S.-China trade tensions, a source told the FT.

TikTok issued a statement to FT regarding Mayer’s decision.

“We appreciate that the political dynamics of the last few months have significantly changed what the scope of Kevin's role would be going forward, and fully respect his decision. We thank him for his time at the company and wish him well,” the TikTok statement said.

Fox News’ Hillary Vaughn contributed to this story.