Zhang Yiming, the low-key engineer behind TikTok owner ByteDance, is exiting his post as CEO of the company. Zhang made the announcement through an internal memo. He will be succeeded by head of human resources, Liang Rubo.
The outgoing CEO said he spent several months weighing whether he may “have greater impact on longer-term initiatives” of ByteDance if he vacated his post. On his exit, Zhang said, “I lack some of the skills that make an ideal manager. I’m more interested in analyzing organizational and market principles, and leveraging these theories to further reduce management work, rather than actually managing people.”
The transition process for Liang to take the reins will last around six months. Liang will step into his new leadership position as ByteDance prepares for a massive initial public offering.
ByteDance is behind the global sensation TikTok, as well as apps that are popular within China, like short-video platform Douyin and news aggregator Toutiao. The company operates in multiple spheres, including online education and video games, and has been on recruiting sprees in these areas. On the ninth anniversary of his company, ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming quoted Buddhist verses, asked his employees to keep an ordinary mind, and even skewered his peers for using too much jargon.