TikTok COO Pappas steps down; Disney veteran joins as communications chief

Vanessa Pappas, chief operating officer at TikTok, speaks during a Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, DC, US, on 14 September 2022.

TikTok Chief Executive Officer Shou Chew said that V Pappas, the social media giant’s chief operating officer (COO), is stepping down to focus on 'entrepreneurial passions'.

Adam Presser, the company’s chief of staff, will become head of operations. Zenia Mucha, former head of communications at Walt Disney, is joining as chief brand and communications officer, a new position.

Pappas has been the longtime public face for TikTok in the US as the company has tried to fend off a ban under two presidential administrations. The COO represented the company at a Senate hearing in September as the most recent wave of criticism ramped up. Pappas will continue as a strategic adviser.

TikTok, a division of China’s ByteDance, has risen to become one of the most popular social media apps in the world on the strength of user-generated, short-form videos. Given its Chinese ownership, the product has raised concerns among both Republicans and Democrats that the government there may use it to gather intelligence about US citizens.

TikTok has denied any influence from the Chinese Communist Party. Pappas unveiled a plan called Project Texas, where TikTok said it’s walling off US user data and housing it on the servers of American tech company Oracle.

While public scrutiny of the company has cooled as Congress has dealt with issues like the debt ceiling debates, there are still multiple bills proposed that could ban the app, as well as an ongoing federal national security review.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.8% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.2% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.2% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.2%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options