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Disney Loses a Top Executive to TikTok

By Demitri Kalogeropoulos - May 18, 2020 at 6:41PM

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The move might complicate the entertainment giant's growth plans.

Disney's (DIS -1.13%) goal of dominating the streaming video market just got more complicated. The leader of its direct-to-consumer division, Kevin Mayer, resigned on Monday and is taking over as the CEO of TikTok. Mayer helped launch the successful Disney+ service and had also been responsible for the entertainment giant's international media portfolio. His most recent stint with Disney goes back to 2005 .

Disney's steaming segment was a bright spot in its latest earnings report, which showed sharp sales declines in the parks division and falling profits at its theater segment. The Disney+ segment, in contrast, saw sales jump to over $4 billion from $1.1 billion a year ago as consumers turned to digital entertainment during the early stages of the pandemic.

In a press release in early May, executives credited the "extraordinary response to Disney+" as proof that the company maintains a deep portfolio of highly relevant entertainment assets .

A man watching TV.

Image source: Getty Images.

Yet Mayer is leaving that division to head up TikTok, a Chinese-owned app for sharing short videos. Usage on that network has also surged since the COVID-19 pandemic, with downloads reaching 11 million in the U.S. just during the month of March.

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