TikTok has appointed Singaporean Chew Shou Zi as its new CEO in a “strategic reorganisation” that sees its top executives based out of its various global offices, including Singapore and the US. The Chinese video platform also announces Vanessa Pappas as its new COO. 

Based out of Los Angeles, Pappas had served as the company’s interim head, said TikTok in a statement. The company’s former CEO Kevin Mayar left last August, just three months after taking up the position, citing a “sharply changed” political environment. TikTok that month had launched a lawsuit against the US government, then under the Trump administration, with regards to the video app’s ban

The appointments of Chew and Pappas were part of a strategic reorganisation to “optimise TikTok’s global teams” as well as support its growth, the company said. Its global offices also include Jakarta, Seoul, Tokyo, and London. 

Chew in March was appointed CFO of TikTok’s parent company ByteDance–a position which he will continue to hold from Singapore, where he currently is based. 

ByteDance’s founder and CEO Zhang Yiming said the two TikTok senior executives would set “the stage for sustained growth”, with Chew having led a team that was amongst its earliest investors and decade-long veteran in the technology industry. “He will add depth to the team, focusing on areas including corporate governance and long-term business initiatives,” Zhang said. 

Chew was most recently president of international at Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, where he also held the CFO position up until April 2020. Pappas, prior to joining ByteDance in November 2018, had spent more than seven years at YouTube where she was head of creative insights.

TikTok’s US operations had been poised to be sold to Oracle and Walmart, but the sale was “shelved indefinitely” following a review by the Biden administration to assess security risks of foreign-owned apps and software. The sale had been prompted by former president Trump’s executive orders banning the downloads of Chinese-owned social media apps WeChat and TikTok, alleging they posed threats to his country’s national security, foreign policy, and economy due to the data they collected.


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