Zhang Yiming to step down as CEO of ByteDance

ByteDance disclosed on Thursday that Zhang Yiming, its founder, told employees through a memo that he will step down as chief executive and be succeeded by human resource chief Liang Rubo.

ByteDance has grown to become a dominant social media force in China and turned TikTok, a short-video app popular with teenagers, into a global sensation.

Zhang will move to a “key strategy” position at the end of this year, ByteDance said in a statement.

Zhang wrote in the memo that Liang, whose most recent role at ByteDance was head of human resources, has been “an invaluable partner”, advancing the company’s technology and hiring and managing people.

Zhang added that he would work with Liang over the next six months to ensure a smooth transition.

Zhang wrote in the memo that he concluded after several months of deliberation that he would have a greater impact on ByteDance’s longer-term initiatives if he transitioned out of the CEO role.

Zhang’s decision to step down comes less than a month after ByteDance named its chief financial officer Shouzi Chew as CEO of TikTok.

ByteDance, which currently employs more than 100,000 people globally, had been making preparations for its much-anticipated initial publish offering (IPO) earlier this year but then halted the IPO plans in April.

The nine-year-old company’s previous big organizational shakeup occurred last year, when Zhang appointed Chairman Zhang Lidong and Chief Executive Kelly Zhang at ByteDance’s China business.

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