The COVID-19 pandemic definitely made some people rethink their choices, careers, and even living quarters. In the case of billionaire Zhang Yiming, CEO of ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, it apparently made him reflect and eventually choose to resign from his coveted position for no other reason than to have the time to daydream.
As inspiring and daring as that seems, this decision was a while in the making.
On one hand, it seems that Yiming’s personality is ill-suited for a managerial position. The ByteDance memo announcing the CEO’s resignation reads, “The truth is, I lack some of the skills that make an ideal manager.” This, apparently, ties in with the CEO’s introverted nature, Yiming saying that he feels most comfortable “reading, listening to music, and daydreaming about what may be possible.” For someone who is worth $36 billion at 38 years old, stepping down to reconsider their priorities and spend more time thinking about their future than supervising employees is not that outlandish.
After all, how many times haven’t we thought that we should put our mental health first? Or that we should work to live better instead of live to do our jobs?
However, there is no denying that ByteDance was in hot waters in the U.S. for not offering full transparency over its operations. At the same time, the fact that China tries to have ties with every (big) domestic tech company is well known. Could that pressure get to ByteDance’s CEO, making him resign abruptly?
Whatever the truth, the future of ByteDance will remain in Lian Rubo’s hands, the other co-founder of the company and current HR head. As for Zhang Yiming, it will be interesting to see what “long-term strategies” he will get to explore and plans to devise starting next year.