ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming resigns as chairman after the appointment has been changed


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GUANGZHOU, China – ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming has stepped down as chairman as the company continues to reorganize its business, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told CNBC.

ByteDance owns TikTok, the hugely popular short video app.

Zhang announced his resignation as CEO of ByteDance in May and said he would take on a strategic role this year.

Liang Rubo, who has taken over the position of CEO, will now also take on the role of Chairman.

ByteDance declined to comment when contacted by CNBC.

The move takes place this week after a major reorganization at ByteDance. Shou Zi Chew, who joined ByteDance in March as CFO of smartphone maker Xiaomi, will step down from his role as chief financial officer to focus on his other job as CEO of TikTok.

Headquartered in Beijing, the company has also created six business units that focus on different areas from gaming to enterprise software.

When Zhang announced his plans to step down as CEO in May, he said in a statement to employees that he believes someone else “can do better to drive progress through areas like improved day-to-day management.”

“The truth is, I am missing some of the skills that make an ideal manager,” he said at the time.

ByteDance caught geopolitical crosshairs last year after President Donald Trump’s administration identified the company as a national security threat and tried to force it to sell its U.S. businesses. That didn’t happen in the end.

ByteDance’s reorganization comes after a series of regroupings in Chinese companies in which founders have resigned from their day-to-day duties.

Last week, Su Hua, the co-founder of TikTok rival Kuaishou, stepped down as CEO but remained chairman. And in September Richard Liu, founder of e-commerce giant, pulled out of day-to-day operations to focus on the company’s long-term strategy.