Zhang Yiming pulling back from ByteDance CEO duty

Business | 17 Jun 2021 3:21 pm

ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming told staff on Thursday that he is already shifting away from chief executive's daily responsibilities and his work pace is less intense, according to two people who attended the meeting, Reuters reports.

In May, Zhang unexpectedly announced that he will step down as CEO of the TikTok owner amid Chinese regulators' tightened scrutiny of the biggest technology firms.

He said at the time he would move to a "key strategy" role and complete the transition work with his successor Liang Rubo by the end of this year.

Zhang told staff he is studying other companies' organizational structures and managing styles, and doing research on the education industry. Zhang remains chairman of ByteDance and has the absolute voting power at the company.

The company told staff at the same meeting that its total revenue more than doubled in 2020 to US$34.3 billion and its net loss widened to US$45 billion, according to a memo seen by Reuters.

The wider loss was partly attributable to accounting norms for share-based compensation of employees, a person familiar with the matter said.

Reuters has reported that ByteDance, one of the world's biggest private tech companies with an estimated value of about US$300 billion in recent trades, had a revenue goal of around US$30 billion for 2020.

ByteDance posted an operating loss of US$2 billion and a gross profit of $19 billion, a 93 percent growth year-over-year, the company told employees in the staff meeting, upon which the memo was based.

Beijing-based ByteDance declined to comment on its financials or Zhang's remarks.


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