“In latest weeks, because the political setting has sharply modified, I’ve achieved vital reflection on what the company structural adjustments would require, and what it means for the worldwide function I signed up for,” Mayer mentioned in a memo to staff that was obtained by CNN Enterprise. “In opposition to this backdrop, and as we count on to achieve a decision very quickly, it’s with a heavy coronary heart that I needed to allow you to all know that I’ve determined to depart the corporate.”TikTok employed Mayer, a former prime Disney government, lower than 4 months in the past to run the app, which is the primary owned by a Chinese language firm to achieve vital traction in western international locations. Along with his CEO obligations, Mayer grew to become chief working officer of ByteDance, TikTok’s father or mother firm. Since then, although, TikTok has come below hearth from the US authorities, and Trump has threatened to ban the app if it is not bought by ByteDance.”We recognize that the political dynamics of the previous few months have considerably modified what the scope of Kevin’s function can be going ahead, and totally respect his choice,” a TikTok spokesperson mentioned in a press release. Even earlier than Trump issued government orders calling for TikTok’s ban, the corporate was rethinking its company construction. The Wall Street Journal reported in early July that ByteDance was contemplating establishing a headquarters for the video app outdoors of China or a brand new administration board to distance the service from the nation. A TikTok spokesperson advised CNN Enterprise on the time that it was “evaluating adjustments.”Mayer’s departure is a “large setback for the corporate,” mentioned Edith Yeung, who spent years investing in Chinese language firms with enterprise capital agency 500 Startups. She is a associate with Race Capital, investing largely in US companies. “[A] chief can not soar ship in probably the most essential time for a corporation,” she added. In accordance with Trump’s government orders, TikTok poses a nationwide safety menace as a result of the app collects a whole lot of knowledge on customers, which “threatens to permit the Chinese language Communist Occasion entry to People’ private and proprietary data.” The transfer in opposition to TikTok is a part of an escalating US-China tech conflict that has already ensnared different Chinese language apps and tech companies, resembling Tencent-owned WeChat and Huawei. TikTok has sued the Trump administration over the preliminary government order, calling it “closely politicized.” The corporate mentioned Trump’s order illegally rests on emergency powers regulation in methods that don’t apply to TikTok. The corporate has additionally mentioned that it shops knowledge on its US customers in the USA and in Singapore, and that it could refuse any request by the Chinese language authorities for US consumer knowledge.TikTok has 100 million customers in the USA. The corporate has explored promoting its US enterprise, which trade consultants say is worth between $40 billion and $50 billion, to Microsoft and reportedly to Oracle as nicely. Microsoft mentioned it’s exploring a deal to purchase TikTok’s operations in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, in addition to the US enterprise. “The function that I signed up for — together with operating TikTok globally -— will look very completely different on account of the US Administration’s motion to push for a dump of the US enterprise,” Mayer mentioned within the memo to staff. “I’ve all the time been globally targeted in my work, and main a worldwide crew that features TikTok US was a giant draw for me.”ByteDance launched the Chinese language model of TikTok, known as Douyin, in 2016. The worldwide model debuted the next 12 months and has grown to grow to be some of the well-liked social media apps on the planet. As of July, TikTok mentioned it had almost 690 million international month-to-month energetic customers. That also trails Fb’s 2.7 billion month-to-month energetic customers, however the app can also be significantly youthful than its US rival. By August 2020, TikTok mentioned it had surpassed two billion international downloads.Vanessa Pappas, the previous YouTube government who joined TikTok final 12 months to grow to be common supervisor of North America, Australia and New Zealand, will function interim head for TikTok globally, in line with Mayer’s memo. If Mayer had caught it out, “he can be operating one of many largest social media firms on the planet,” Yeung mentioned, although she added that “no American would blame him for quitting.””I want he would hold in there,” she mentioned. “He might change the course of China-US tech historical past. Oh nicely.” — Brian Fung contributed to this report.