TikTok considers Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom for new CEO: Report

  • TikTok has approached Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom about becoming the app’s next CEO, The New York Times reported Thursday.
  • TikTok’s last CEO, Kevin Mayer, resigned in late August after just three months on the job.
  • However, finding a new CEO may be a priority given the terms of the deal made between TikTok parent company ByteDance, Oracle, and the US government to avoid a US ban. Reports indicate TikTok will split off into its own company with a US CEO and a board comprised of mostly Americans.
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Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom has been approached as a possible candidate to become TikTok’s CEO, The  New York Times reported on Thursday.

TikTok has not had a CEO since late August, when Kevin Mayer resigned from the role after three months in the job. But per reported terms of the deal to keep TikTok in the US, the company will be required to get a US CEO to show its separation from Chinese parent company ByteDance. TikTok’s US general manager, Vanessa Pappas, has been acting CEO since Mayer’s resignation.

Talks between TikTok and Systrom are “preliminary,” and no final decisions have been made, according to the Times. Systrom cofounded Instagram in 2010, and served as CEO of the photo-sharing app through its Facebook acquisition until he and Instagram’s other cofounder, Mike Krieger, resigned in September 2018.

A clearer picture of TikTok’s restructuring, designed to appease the US government’s national-security concerns, has only emerged this week. As part of the deal, TikTok will reportedly be broken off as its own US-headquartered company, and US-based investors will take majority ownership of it from ByteDance. Oracle is expected to take a 20% stake, while Walmart and other investors will take smaller shares.

As part of the deal — which would need the approval of President Donald Trump and the Chinese government — TikTok will be required to hire a US CEO and a board of directors made up mostly of Americans, according to reports.

TikTok did not have a global CEO before it appointed Mayer, a former Disney executive, in June. It created the position in 2020 in part to demonstrate its separation from ByteDance. Mayer cited “corporate structural changes” and a changing “political environment” in his resignation.

Systrom founded Instagram with Mike Krieger in 2010, two years before Facebook purchased it for $1 billion. Systrom and Krieger abruptly stepped down from their roles leading Instagram in September 2018, a move reportedly preceded by “growing tensions” between the Instagram cofounders and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over the photo-sharing app’s direction.

Read More: TikTok considers Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom for new CEO: Report

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