Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom has been approached as a possible candidate to become TikTok's CEO, the New York Times reports.
TikTok's CEO position has been vacant since late August, when Kevin Mayer resigned from the role only after three months in the position. But per reported terms of the deal to keep TikTok in the US, the company will be required to get a US CEO to show its separation from its Chinese parent company ByteDance.
Talks between TikTok and Systrom are "preliminary," and no final decisions have been made, according to the Times. Systrom cofounded Instagram in 2010, and served as CEO of the photo-sharing app through its Facebook acquisition until he resigned in September 2018.
A clearer picture of TikTok's restructuring, designed to appease the US government's national-security concerns, has only emerged this week. As part of the deal, TikTok will reportedly be broken off as its own US-headquarted company, and US investors will takeover majority ownership of it from ByteDance. Oracle is expected to take a 20% stake, while Walmart and other investors will take smaller shares.
As part of the deal — waiting on the approval of Donald Trump — TikTok will be required to hire a US CEO and a board of directors made up mostly of Americans, according to reports.
TikTok's former CEO, Kevin Mayer, resigned in August citing "corporate structural changes" and a changing "political environment." Mayer left just three months into his role — one TikTok created at the start of 2020 to demonstrate its separation from ByteDance.
Since Mayer left in August, Vanessa Pappas — formerly TikTok general manager in the US — has filled in as interim CEO.
Systrom founded Instagram with Mike Krieger in 2010, two years before Facebook purchased it for $1 billion. Systrom abruptly left his position heading up Instagram in 2018 after facing off against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
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