Zhang Yiming, co-founder of TikTok parent ByteDance Ltd., will step down as CEO by the end of the year, the Chinese company said Thursday.
In a blog post, ByteDance said co-founder and current human-resources chief Liang Rubo will take over as chief executive, with the pair working together for the next six months to ensure a smooth transition, after which Zhang will move to a strategic role; he will remain a board member.
In a letter to employees, Zhang, 38, said: “I feel I did not achieve as much as I had hoped to on my previous objectives in the areas of new strategic opportunities, organizational management, and social responsibility. Since the beginning of this year, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to better drive real long-term breakthroughs, which cannot simply rely on steady, but incremental, progress.
“After handing over my role as CEO, and removing myself from the responsibilities of daily management, I will have the space to explore long-term strategies, organizational culture and social responsibility, with a more objective perspective on the company.”
Beijing-based ByteDance was formed in 2012, and its smash hit app, TikTok, has nearly 700 million monthly users. Privately held ByteDance was valued at $140 billion as of its last funding round, but according to Bloomberg News was privately valued around $250 billion earlier this year.