TikTok’s mysterious 8X CEO: Has an MBA from Harvard, used to be an intern at Facebook, now becomes the boss of the most popular rival social network on the planet
- Tram Ho
Last summer, when TikTok was the main sponsor of Vidcon – the annual conference for content creators and brands featured on the short video app, Vanessa Pappas was on stage to speak. Months later, when TikTok was cited by Congress as the source of privacy and security problems, she was also the one to “take the nose” with the press.
I thought Pappas was the commercial representative of TikTok in the past few years of turmoil, but her role at the company is only second. The person who actually held the position of CEO of one of the most popular apps on the planet for 2 years was Shou Zi Chew, an entrepreneur living in Singapore – thousands of miles from Washington.
In Silicon Valley, tech CEOs are often the face of the company. For example, when it comes to Mark Zuckerberg, people immediately think of Facebook and when they think of Jack Dorsey, they immediately think of Twitter (before Elon Musk bought it, of course). However, Mr. Chew, who took over as CEO of TikTok in April 2021, has largely gone unnoticed.
Currently, TikTok is being closely monitored by US state and federal lawmakers due to concerns about its relationship with China through its parent company ByteDance. Their influence on younger users is also believed to be one of the causes.
Accordingly, the short video application is not allowed to appear on the devices of federal employees, is blocked by dozens of universities across the country and even faces the risk of being removed from the US app stores. . This put great pressure on Chew, after he received a series of critical letters from US senators. Chew is also said to have had limited control over TikTok and its parent company.
In a rare interview at the New York Times’ DealBook summit in late November, Chew was asked if he was working ” at the behest of ByteDance or the Chinese government “. In response, the CEO said, ” I am responsible for all strategic decisions at TikTok .”
He added that ByteDance is “organized like any other internet company,” including global investors, shareholder boards and employee representatives. “ I am responsible for the decisions at TikTok ,” Chew emphasized again, “ I am also accountable to the shareholders and the board of directors .”
In interviews, Chew describes himself as a father of two who enjoys playing golf and reading physics books. What happened to TikTok recently made people curious about this CEO.
In a letter to US lawmakers in June, TikTok appeared to be trying to distance itself from ByteDance, claiming it was led by ” Global CEO Shou Zi Chew – a Singaporean citizen, living in Singapore ”.
This is not the first time TikTok has mentioned Shou Zi Chew’s nationality. In 2020, when facing increasing pressure from the administration of former President Donald Trump, TikTok also repeatedly defended itself by referring to “American CEO” Kevin Kevin Mayer – former Disney CEO.
According to CNN, Mayer held the position of CEO of TikTok for only three months before resigning. Ms. Pappas, an expert with experience working at major technology platforms such as Google’s YouTube, then temporarily held the position of global director of TikTok for less than a year. After that, Chew became CEO.
“ I think they picked Chew because, frankly, he’s not Chinese. Singapore is pretty good in terms of geopolitics ,” said Ivan Kanapathy, a former head of the White House National Security Council. ” However, I don’t think that’s enough for Washington .”
After completing his mandatory military service in Singapore, Chew attended college and graduated with an MBA at Harvard in 2010. His chance to stick with Silicon Valley began when this young man did an internship at Facebook.
Chew then became the CFO of Chinese tech giant Xiaomi, which he helped list in 2018. In 2013, Chew became one of ByteDance’s earliest investors.
In an interview with business magnate David Rubenstein, Chew said he had kept in touch with the ByteDance HR team throughout his career and was eventually offered the role of CFO. Chew assumed the position of TikTok CEO in April 2021, while Ms. Pappas was appointed COO.
“ As TikTok CEO, I focus on building trust ,” Chew told Rubenstein. “We are a young company and I think trust is something that we need to achieve.”
However, in the past 3 years, DC’s lack of trust with TikTok has deepened, and has led to a series of allegations about user security and privacy. Previously, 2 employees in the US and 2 employees in China were fired for unauthorized access to the data of US users, including two journalists.
“ The public trust that we work so hard to build has been significantly undermined by misconduct on the part of a few individuals, ” Liang Rubo, ByteDance CEO, wrote to employees in an email. internal.
By: CNN, BI
Source : Genk