Kevin Mayer Leaves Disney for TikTok, Chapek Regime Rejigs
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
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.
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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Andrew Peterson<p>Andrew Peterson is the co-founder and former chief executive of Signal Sciences, a web application security platform that he founded in 2014 and <a href="https://dot.la/signal-science-snapped-up-for-775m-in-big-l-a-saas-exit-2647256430.html" target="_self">was acquired in 2020 by Fastly in a $775 million deal</a>. Signal Sciences protects web applications from attacks and data breaches for clients like Duo Security, Under Armor and DoorDash.</p><p>Prior to starting Signal Sciences, Peterson worked at Etsy, helping the online marketplace with international growth as a group project manager. Etsy <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/3056900/how-three-ex-etsy-employees-turned-their-old-employer-into-a-consumer" target="_blank">reportedly became </a>one of Signal Sciences's first customers. Peterson has also served stints as health information management officer at the Clinton Foundation and as a senior product specialist at Google.</p>
Ara Mahdessian<p>Ara Mahdessian is the co-founder of ServiceTitan, a SaaS product for managing a home services business.</p><p>The inspiration for ServiceTitan, Mahdessian's first company, came from watching his parents start their own businesses in building and plumbing, only to struggle with the logistics behind keeping them running, he <a href="https://www.inc.com/magazine/201906/emily-canal/servicetitan-immigrant-inclusion-diversity-best-workplaces-2019.html" target="_blank">told Inc in 2019</a>. Mahdessian and his co-founder Vahe Kuzoyan met while in college, and worked on several consulting projects before starting ServiceTitan, in hopes of aiding small business owners like their parents.</p>
Evan Spiegel<p>Evan Spiegel is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Snap Inc., the Venice-based company known for its app Snapchat. He's also one of the youngest billionaires in the world, launching Snapchat while still an undergraduate at Stanford. </p><p>SnapChat, the company's app, has recently been taking on rival TikTok <a href="https://dot.la/snap-spotlight-2649022645.html" data-linked-post="2649022645" target="_blank">with a new feature</a> and a program meant to attract creators to its platform. And it is been at the center of a larger national debate on the power of big tech. </p>
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Tim Ellis<p>Tim Ellis is the co-founder and chief executive of Relativity Space, an autonomous rocket factory and launch services leader for satellite constellations. He is the youngest member on the National Space Council Users Advisory Group and serves on the World Economic Forum as a "technology pioneer."</p><p>Before founding Relativity Space, Ellis studied aerospace engineering at the University of Southern California and interned at Masten Space Systems and Blue Origin, where he worked after graduation. He was a propulsion engineer and brought metal 3D printing in-house to the company.</p>
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