TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer is stepping down from his position amid an ongoing dispute with the U.S. government and ahead of a looming ban.
Mayer told employees in a letter that he is leaving TikTok, and that current general manager Vanessa Pappas will be leading the company. He previously worked at Disney in its direct to consumer operations before joining TikTok in May.
“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 in the letter.
“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.”
Mayer’s departure comes as a surprise, as the company just launched a lawsuit against the Trump administration and is in talks with Microsoft and Oracle regarding a potential acquisition. It also comes around a month after he said TikTok was committed to a push for transparency and was hoping to change the perception of the app.
TikTok sued the Trump administration on August 24th and stated that “the Administration ignored our extensive efforts to address its concerns, which we conducted fully and in good faith even as we disagreed with the concerns themselves.”
“We do not take suing the government lightly, however we feel we have no choice but to take action to protect our rights, and the rights of our community and employees.”
TikTok’s argues in the lawsuit that the order violates due process protections and does not back up its claim that TikTok is a national security threat.
On August 6th, President Trump signed an executive order banning U.S. business with TikTok. The order essentially aims to force TikTok to sell its U.S. operations or face a ban. The rule was initially meant to take effect in mid-September but has since been extended to November 12th.