ByteDance
Zhang Yiming and Liang Rubo. Image source: ByteDance

Zhang Yiming, co-founder of ByteDance – the owners of TikTok, will step down as CEO and transition to a new role.

In an internal letter, ByteDance said co-founder and HR head Liang Rubo will become the new CEO.

Yiming and Rubo will work side by side over the next six months to ensure the smoothest possible transition.

“At the same time, there are still many things that we need to improve, and I think someone else can better drive progress through areas like improved daily management,” wrote Yiming in an internal letter.

“The truth is, 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.

“Similarly, I’m not very social, preferring solitary activities like being online, reading, listening to music, and daydreaming about what may be possible.”

After several months of thinking about this, Yimming said came to the conclusion that transitioning out of the role of CEO, with all of the related day-to-day responsibilities, would enable him to have greater impact on longer-term initiatives.

Let me explain how I came to this conclusion.

“Our success over the last nine years has been predicated upon our ability to innovate at just the right moment in the development of the industry. Notably, this has included applying machine learning to mobile and video products.

“Between graduating from college and starting ByteDance, I spent a lot of time thinking and learning about challenges like effectively disseminating information, using technology to improve products, and approaching the development of a company, much like one would a product: through constant re-evaluation, adjustment, and iteration.

“That period of profound thinking and ideation helped lay the groundwork for ByteDance. With our business growing well, it is time to think about how we can, not simply scale, but make innovative, meaningful, long-term progress towards our mission to “Inspire Creativity, Enrich life.

“Innovation and success are rooted in years of exploring and imagining what is possible. However, few people have real insight into the future, preferring to model on current and past achievements.

“People are amazed by the success of electric cars, but they forget that Tesla is 18 years old and first experimented with laptop batteries to power its vehicles. People know about Apple’s software management tool HomeBrew, but few realize that computer geeks were discussing the Apple I in the HomeBrew Club in the 1970s.

Virtual reality, life science, and scientific computation are playing a bigger role in people’s lives as technology brings ever-greater impact to society. This type of progress requires us to break through the inertia, and to keep exploring.”

For more read the internal letter here

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