Zhang Yiming, co-founder of TikTok owner ByteDance, told employees of the Chinese tech giant in a memo that he would step down as chief executive, the company revealed on Thursday.
He will be replaced by co-founder Rubo Liang. The move, first reported by Reuters, represents the biggest corporate upheaval at ByteDance since its launch in 2012. The company has become a dominant social media force in China and made TikTok a global sensation.
Mr. Zhang wrote that Mr. Liang, who was the head of human resources at Bytedance, had been “an invaluable partner,” advancing the company’s technology and hiring and managing people. He added that he would work with Mr. Liang over the next six months to ensure a smooth transition.
Mr. Zhang said that after several months of deliberation, he concluded that he would have a greater impact on ByteDance’s long-term initiatives if he left the post of managing director.
“The truth is, I don’t have some of the skills that make an ideal manager. I’m more interested in analyzing organizational and market principles, and using those theories to reduce managerial work even further, rather than through people management, ”Zhang wrote.
“Likewise, I am not very social, I prefer solitary activities like being online, reading, listening to music and considering what is possible,” he added.
Mr. Zhang’s decision to step down comes less than a month after ByteDance appointed its CFO Shouzi Chew as CEO of TikTok.
TikTok has sought to distance itself from Beijing after the United States raised national security concerns over the security of the personal data it processes.
The administration of former US President Donald Trump has sought to force ByteDance to cede control of the app. A US plan to sell TikTok’s US operations to a consortium that included Oracle Corp and Walmart Inc, however, was halted after ByteDance launched successful legal challenges.
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This notice was published: 2021-05-20 04:33:04