Who is TikTok CEO Shou Chew?
Shou Chew, chief executive of TikTok, appears before Congress for the first time on Thursday, as a solo witness in a hearing on the dangers of the video app. TikTok is owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance, which has raised concerns the app could share sensitive US user data with the Chinese government.
It’s become a rite of passage for tech chiefs, like Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai, to endure tough questioning as witnesses in congressional hearings about potential harms to their products. But Mr. Chew, 40, is not from Silicon Valley and stands out from these other executives.
The Singaporean-born executive will serve as a spoiler for TikTok, taking the heat from the app while touting its popularity and how it serves as a platform for creators and small businesses. Mr. Chew has repeatedly denied TikTok’s ties to China. And he pointed out that he lives in Singapore with his wife and two children.
“I’m responsible for all strategic decisions at TikTok,” Chew said in November at the New York Times’ DealBook conference.
Mr Chew took over the helm of TikTok in May 2021 amid scrutiny of the app’s ties to China. He studied economics at University College London. He then joined Goldman Sachs in investment banking and later earned an MBA from Harvard.
While in business school, Chew interned at Facebook and, after earning his business degree, joined venture capital firm DST Global. Fluent in Mandarin, he became DST’s contact person in China. Mr. Chew helped invest in a Chinese news aggregator that eventually became TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance.
In early 2021, Mr. Chew joined TikTok as chief financial officer. He was quickly named general manager, replacing Kevin Mayer, a former Disney executive who left after a few months.
Mr. Chew was called upon to bring financial discipline to the business and chart a path to profitability. It stayed out of the spotlight until late last fall as national security concerns mounted against the app.
Over the past few months, Mr. Chew has led a global charm offensive to try to convince governments that TikTok protects user privacy and is not influenced by China’s communist rulers. He also met with members of Congress, regulators in Europe and world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January.
Leave a Reply