Founder of TikTok owner ByteDance to step down as CEO because he lacked the social skills to be an ideal manager; “I’m not very social,” Zhang Yiming says
In a surprise announcement to employees on Thursday, first reported by Reuters and later disclosed by the company, Zhang Yiming announced he will step down as CEO of TikTok-owner ByteDance, saying he lacked the social skills to be an ideal manager.
Zhang said the change would enable him “to have a greater impact on longer-term initiatives”. He will move to a “key strategy” position at the end of the year, ByteDance said. Zhang later named his college roommate Liang Rubo, another ByteDance co-founder, as his successor to navigate a rising tide of Big Tech regulations.
ByteDance has had a number of management changes over the past few months. In August, for example, Kevin Mayer, who was hired from Disney to be the TikTok CEO, resigned as trouble deepens for the beleaguered Chinese social app.
The 38-year-old will be succeeded by Liang, a long-time colleague and the current head of human resources at ByteDance, one of the world’s biggest private tech companies with an estimated value of about $300 billion in recent trades.
Founded in 2012, ByteDance is the developer of the video-sharing social networking services and apps TikTok and Douyin, the Chinese-specific counterpart to TikTok. The company owns a series of content platforms that enable people to connect with consuming and creating content through machine learning technology.
With nearly 200 million daily active users each spends an hour every day on their products, the company is dedicated to building connections between people and information.
Bytedance also operates a series of products popular with mobile users around the world, including Topbuzz, Flipagram, and a number of UGC short-form video apps.