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ByteDance CFO steps down to focus on role as TikTok CEO as part of major reorganization

TikTok app logo on the App Store.

Jakub Porzycki | NurPhoto | Getty Images

GUANGZHOU, China — TikTok owner ByteDance’s finance chief will step down to focus on his role as CEO of the short video app, according to an internal memo obtained by CNBC.

Shou Zi Chew joined ByteDance as CFO from smartphone maker Xiaomi in March, sparking speculation the company could be on track for an initial public offering. ByteDance said in April it had no imminent plans to list.

Chew became the CEO of short video app TikTok in May.

The move is part of a broader reorganization within ByteDance in which six business units have been created, the company’s CEO Liang Rubo told employees in the memo.

The first business unit is Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, which will also include ByteDance’s Toutiao news aggregation service.

Other units include work collaboration division Lark, education business Dali and enterprise technology platform BytePlus.

The Nuverse business will focus on ByteDance’s gaming efforts, while the TikTok unit will focus on the short video app.

The changes will take place over a gradual transition period, Liang said.

ByteDance has looked to reorganize its business this year including upper management. In May, Zhang Yiming, co-founder of ByteDance, stepped down as CEO and transitioned into a strategy role. Liang took over as CEO.

It has been a rocky 15 months for ByteDance after it was dubbed a national security threat by former President Donald Trump’s administration and ordered to divest its TikTok business in the U.S. Even though the move sparked a bidding war between companies including Microsoft and Oracle, a deal never materialized.

However, the mounting pressure from Washington did force Kevin Mayer, who was hired from Disney to run TikTok, to step down.

Nonetheless, ByteDance has continued to push forward with new business areas from gaming to fintech, while TikTok hit a billion monthly active users in September.

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