NEW YORK – Greek-Australian Vanessa Pappas, TikTok General Manager of Operations in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, is now the interim head of TikTok following the resignation of CEO Kevin Mayer on August 26.
Mayer had resigned as Disney's head of streaming just three months ago to take on the post at TikTok, CNET reported, noting that earlier in August, President Trump had threatened to ban the app “unless it was bought out by a U.S. company.”
Mayer wrote in his resignation letter addressed to TikTok employees, “In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for. Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company,” CNET reported.
Pappas posted her reaction to her new position on August 27 on Twitter, “Incredibly proud and humbled to take the role of interim head of TikTok. Our community and our team who work so hard to enable this product continue to inspire me. It's truly amazing what we've accomplished in 2 years, I have no doubt what we can accomplish in this next chapter!”
Congratulations poured in from around the world following the post on social media.
In an interview on August 18 with NBC News, Pappas had addressed concerns about TikTok and U.S. national security. She said at that time, “We’re not a national security threat. We have very strict data controls in place. We have an amazing team building a world-class infrastructure, and that's something that we put front and center in terms of protecting our users.”
Pappas also said that “TikTok had become a victim of the ‘geopolitical tension’ between Washington and Beijing, and cited a recent CIA report that found no evidence that Chinese intelligence had accessed TikTok users' data,” NBC News reported.
On August 24, TikTok filed a complaint in federal court challenging the Trump Administration's efforts to ban TikTok in the United States. “TikTok's lawsuit alleges the U.S. government didn't allow it to respond to the national security concerns cited as the reason for the potential ban,” CNET reported, adding that “the company has repeatedly said that it doesn't share user data with the Chinese government.”
Mayer’s resignation letter continued, "I want to be clear that this decision has nothing to do with the company, what I see for our future, or the belief I have in what we are building. As we look to the next phase of this company, there is no doubt that the future is incredibly bright. For our users, any potential structural changes should not affect their experience, and I strongly believe that our community will be more creative and diverse than ever. The platform will continue to provide our global community an amazing and integrated experience as it does today. Similarly, from an employee perspective, I believe that the vast majority of work will be unchanged,” CNET reported.
“We definitely are committed to providing the exact same experience to our users today, in whatever scenario unfolds in the future,” Pappas told NBC News.