TikTok COO Vanessa Pappas steps down
Zenia Mucha, who spent two decades as Disney’s top spokesperson before leaving the company in 2021, has been hired at TikTok. She’ll serve in the newly formed role of chief brand and communications officer and will be responsible for TikTok’s global marketing and communications strategies.
Mucha’s hiring is part of a larger shakeup at TikTok. Vanessa Pappas is stepping down as the company’s chief operating officer and Adam Presser, the current chief of staff, has been promoted to head of operations.
“Given all the successes reached at TikTok, I finally feel the time is right to move on and refocus on my entrepreneurial passions,” Pappas said in a note to staff. “I know the company has a very bright and stable future under the strong leadership of Shou Chew and our executive team, I will be here to support him, the leadership team and all of you during this transition by taking on an advisory role for the company.”
It appears that Mucha has long been on TikTok’s radar as she worked earlier this year on the team that coached its CEO Shou Zi Chew for a congressional hearing in March. The U.S. government has threatened to ban TikTok due to China’s influence over the app and the communist regime’s ability to intently track the data of its users. TikTok has also been scrutinized for spreading of misinformation and harmful content.
At Disney, Mucha was known for her full-throated advocacy of the company and influence that extended beyond her role of senior executive VP and chief communications officer. The New York Times once described her as “director of revenge.” After 20 years at the media giant, she stepped down at the end of 2021 to coincide with Bob Iger’s exit as executive chairman. Iger last fall rejoined Disney as interim CEO.
Before joining Disney, Mucha worked in politics as communications chief to then-New York Gov. George Pataki. She also worked for former New York Senator Alfonse D’Amato.