Chinese Billionaire and internet entrepreneur, Zhang Yiming, the 38-year-old founder of ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, announced he will be stepping down as the CEO
Zhang made this known in an open letter, stating that his decision was based upon his own self-acknowledged lack of social skills. “The truth is, I lack some of the skills that make an ideal manager.” The founder added, “I’m not very social, preferring solitary activities like being online, reading, listening to music and daydreaming about what may be possible.”
ByteDance was founded in 2012 and is the first truly global Chinese internet company. TikTok has given the company a level of success and cultural influence that no other Chinese tech company has been able to do outside of China. TikTok was the most valuable start-up in the world back then and has only grown by leaps and bounds, as it kept people going during the pandemic lockdown.
In response to Zhang’s resignation, TikTok has given Zhang Yiming a net worth of $44 billion. He’s currently the 30th richest person in the world. That’s $28 billion higher than it was back in March 2019. Yiming’s self-awareness to know he isn’t the right man to head the company at this point of his growth is admirable.
After running the company for nearly a decade, Zhang stepped down as CEO. Yiming further wrote about his decision, “I came to the conclusion that transitioning out of the role of CEO, with all of the related day-to-day responsibilities, would enable me to have a greater impact on longer-term initiatives… When companies mature and expand, many fall into the trap of the CEO becoming overly central—listening to presentations, handling approvals and making decisions reactively. This leads to an over-reliance on existing ideas already in the company and results in knowledge structures being slow to iterate.
To avoid this trap, I gradually came to a decision over the last six months to take on a new role at ByteDance. I believe I can best challenge the limits of what the company can achieve over the next decade, and drive innovation, by drawing on my strengths of highly focused learning, systematic thought and a willingness to attempt new things.”