He Was Once Widely Considered the Heir Apparent at Disney. Now He’s the Chief Executive of TikTok.

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

He Was Once Widely Considered the Heir Apparent at Disney. Now He’s the Chief Executive of TikTok.

Kevin Mayer, once widely considered Bob Iger's heir apparent at The Walt Disney company, will become chief executive of TikTok and chief operating officer of ByteDance, TikTok's Beijing-based parent company.

Rebecca Campbell, a 23-year Disney veteran who was most recently president of Disneyland Resort, will replace Mayer as chairman of direct-to-consumer and international, the company reported. Disney also announced that Josh D'Amaro, previously president of Walt Disney World Resort, will become chairman of Disney's parks, experiences and product – the role formerly held by Bob Chapek, who succeeded Iger as Disney chief executive in February.


That selection of Chapek precipitated expectations around Hollywood that Mayer – who had overseen a successful launch of Disney's streaming service, Disney Plus, and had previously helped orchestrate Disney's acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox – would likely look elsewhere for his next move.

More surprising than Mayer's exit is the appointment of Campbell to fill his shoes. The coronavirus crisis has clobbered Disney, but the company's prior decision to invest heavily in tech – epitomized by its acquisition of BAMTech, subsequently spun off into Disney Streaming Services, which powers Disney Plus – has been a relative saving grace. While Campbell oversaw the launch of Disney Plus in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the majority of her experience has been in the legacy business of Disney's ABC television unit. Campbell now helms the most future-oriented piece of the conglomerate, which despite its strong start must contend with fierce competition from tech giants like Netflix, Apple and Amazon. With Cambell and D'Amaro moving up the ranks, Chapek appears to be installing a new regime of executives whom he has worked with before; both will report directly to the new CEO.

Mayer, meanwhile, goes onto one of the hottest media companies around. His experience with M&A should serve him well as COO of ByteDance, and his Disney Plus reign should prove useful for capitalizing on the momentum of the social media app that has reportedly been downloaded over two billion times. Mayer is also inheriting a company, however, that has been under increased scrutiny, including a complaint filed last week to the U.S. FTC that it is openly flouting child privacy protections.

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Sam Blake covers media and entertainment for dot.LA. Find him on Twitter @hisamblake and email him at sam.blake@dot.LA

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Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

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Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

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LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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How ‘Funny Water Company’ Liquid Death Made H2O Worth $700 Million

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

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When Santa Monica-based Liquid Death launched with funding from neighboring venture capital firm Science Inc. in 2018, the Los Angeles startup world – and everyone else – had nothing but jokes. But with the company’s latest $700 million valuation, it appears the joke is on the rest of us.

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