Disney+ Boss Kevin Mayer Moving to TikTok Could Damage His Storied Career

Kevin Mayer Chairman of Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International, Whose Chin And Crew Cut Make Him Look More Like A Pro Wrestler Than A Disney Exec, Has Become The New CEO of the Chinese-Owned Tween Short-Format Video App TikTok.

Mayer Is Also Taking Over The Position As COO (Chief Operating Officer) of Its Parent Company, The Chinese Wholly-Owned Entity, ByteDance.

Which Has Not Only Come Under American – Along With Other Western Countries – But Chinese Scrutiny (Though, We Should Point Out It Is Far From The Same).

By Ryan Carroll, Managing Editor

May, 2020.

Reading Bob Iger’s book one can understand that he is not looking for a successor who can only drive revenue, profits, and M&A, but who can Lead People and Empathize with them (especially in a time like this). Which makes one understand his long road and choice of finding a Disney CEO successor; and the delayment of his retirement.

A position many thought Mayer was primed to fill, especially with the successful launch of Disney+ at the end of 2019, and as;

He [Mayer] was also instrumental in Disney’s acquisitions of Lucasfilm (and the Star Wars franchise), Pixar, Marvel and 21st Century Fox over the last decade and a half.


But, Bob Chapek, who was the Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, before moving up to the position as Bob Iger’s replacement as CEO. A more diversified position than Mayer’s Direct-to-Consumer & International executive role, and one which Mayer’s background includes a strong presence in streaming and M&A. Though, potentially not running a multifaceted corporation with tens of thousands of “cast members”.

Which leads me to why Kevin Mayer chose to become TikTok next CEO? A company that may be in a volatile situation in the coming future. In regards to CFIUS, the FCC (Homeland Security is under of their purview), and other regulatory bodies here in the USA and other Western nations.

Especially, since he was also named COO of ByteDance a wholly owned Chinese entity.

Could Mayer’s drive; above the common good, the good of the employees and that of the nation they belong to, and data security of the user-base he may be over seeing, be the reason why he was passed over for the CEO position at Disney?

Mayer has dealt with the American government regulatory bodies before, and has dealt with the Chinese government, and its bureaucratic system. Which makes him a prime candidate for the Disney CEO position, but this is not the type of leader that Bob Iger has been searching for.

Is this the type of leader that TikTok and ByteDance needs?

Our friend and fellow China Watcher Michael Norris, from AgencyChina, posted over at TechCrunch an open letter to ByteDance, that I guess they did not read about PR. When they made Kevin Mayer the COO of ByteDance.

This is the most unusual move of all. I can understand hiring on Mayer as CEO of TikTok to expand the presence into long-format video and other added-value services, but bringing him into the Chinese entity itself offers up too many regulatory issue within itself.

Showing that there is no line between TikTok / Douyin / ByteDance.

Highlighting that there is no there is no delineation between the the three entities, since the acquisition of the American tween app Musical.ly.

Kevin Mayer will either come out of this as the executive that took the first Chinese company into Western success, or with-in 12 months he will have moved on.

Stay Tuned China Watchers, and Please Be Kind To One Another. Humanity Is In This Together – No Matter Where You Are. A Little Compassion Helps.

All things are part of one single system, which is called Nature; the individual life is good when it is in harmony with nature.

Zeno of Citium

Sympatheia: n. The belief in mutual interdependence among everything in the universe….that we are all one.

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About the Author

Born and raised in the Missouri-Ozarks Ryan studied Film Production, and East Asian Culture, at the University of Kansas where he was a UGRA recipient that led him on a seven-year long, Journey From the West, to China. Where he worked with Warner Brothers, the China Film Group Corp. and the National Bureau of Statistics of China. Before returning to the States, where he specializes in Chinese Anime & Comics, China’s Box-Office, and Chinese entertainment-tech industries. He has a dog in China, Abigail, and a dog in the Arkansas-Ozarks, King Blue, who help ease his anxiety of suffering from the “Two-Dimensional Complex” that is trying to understand the Culture Industry landscapes of the Middle Kingdom.