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TikTok-Owner ByteDance Picks New CFO After Tech Crackdown
ByteDance, the parent company behind TikTok, has named Julie Gao as its new CFO, according to an internal memo seen by The Wall Street Journal.
Julie Gao. Image courtesy of Skadden
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2 minute read

ByteDance, the parent company behind TikTok, has named Julie Gao as its new CFO, according to an internal memo seen by The Wall Street Journal.

Gao steps into a C-suite office that has been vacant since November 2021, when the company’s former finance chief, Chew Shou Zi, stepped down alongside company co-founder and Chairman Yiming Zhang.

bytedance org chart April 2022

Gao is no stranger to ByteDance and previously advised the Chinese social media giant on its acquisition of Musical.ly and Moonton, as well as several rounds of private equity financings, as a partner at multinational law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates. While at Skadden, Gao was a member of the firm’s highest governing body and was the head of its China practice, where she some of the country’s biggest tech brands, including Baidu, JD.com, Weibo and Didi.

In a letter to ByteDance employees, CEO Liang Rubo elaborated on Gao’s background and stated that she has had a working relationship with the company since 2016 and that “she is familiar with our mission, culture, teams and business.”

Gao’s joins the Chinese tech titan as it reckons with a second IPO attempt. ByteDance shelved its first attempt at an IPO in either the U.S. or Hong Kong this past summer after Chinese officials told the company to focus on its data security. Earlier in the year, the Chinese government had placed ByteDance on a list of companies that allegedly engaged in the improper collection and use of data.

Gao’s legal expertise and familiarity with the Chinese tech ecosystem will be a boon for the Beijing-based company as it looks to repair its relationship with regulators. Additionally, her previous experiences could also pay off for the company when it eventually reapproaches regulators with future IPO plans.

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