TikTok owner ByteDance’s CEO stepping down to spend more time ‘listening to music and daydreaming’

The CEO of ByteDance, the owner of the insanely popular social media app TikTok, has announced he is stepping down from his role of chief executive officer, reports CNBC. Zhang Yiming, who cofounded ByteDance in 2012, will remain in his current role for the next six months as the company transitions its leadership to the new CEO, Liang Rubo, another cofounder of ByteDance.

“There are still many things that we need to improve, and I think someone else can better drive progress through areas like improved daily management. The truth is, I lack some of the skills that make an ideal manager,” Zhang told employees when he announced his resignation as CEO. “I’m more interested in analyzing organizational and market principles, and leveraging these theories to further reduce management work, rather than actually managing people. Similarly, I’m not very social, preferring solitary activities like being online, reading, listening to music, and daydreaming about what may be possible.”

In the nine years since ByteDance was founded, the company has achieved what many in the tech industry once viewed as impossible: dethroning Facebook as the king of social media. In 2021, TikTok (and its Chinese twin Douyin) is where all the cool kids are at now—Facebook is for their lame parents and grandparents. The feat is all the more impressive considering TikTok/Douyin was only launched by ByteDance less than five years ago.

As for ByteDance’s incoming CEO, Liang has been with the company since he cofounded it alongside Zhang in 2012. Liang is the current head of human resources at ByteDance and will assume the role of CEO by November. ByteDance says the outgoing and incoming CEOs “will work side by side over the next six months to ensure the smoothest possible transition.”


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