Julie Gao, formerly Head of Finance at Snapchat, has joined the newly-created position as Chief Financial Officer for ByteDance. She is also joining a Board seat and shares a leadership with Yijie Bao and Mei Li Wang.
The “TikTok Owner ByteDance Taps Senior Lawyer Julie Gao as CFO” is a news story that was published on January 23, 2019. It reports that the company has hired the senior lawyer, Julie Gao to be its Chief Financial Officer.
SINGAPORE—ByteDance Ltd., the Chinese business behind TikTok, has named a top China-focused lawyer as its new chief financial officer, filling a position that has been empty for months while the company’s prospects for an IPO have stagnated.
Julie Gao, a Hong Kong-based former senior partner at law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, will be joining the company as its top finance executive, according to a letter to staff seen by The Wall Street Journal that was verified by the company. Ms. Gao is known in the industry for her role advising on the initial share sales of large Chinese technology startups.
The CFO post has been vacant since November, when Shou Zi Chew, TikTok’s current CEO, stepped down to concentrate on his role as the company’s chief executive officer.
Ms. Gao’s appointment comes as the Chinese technology company’s pursuit for an IPO comes to a halt. The Beijing-based firm put its plans to list abroad on hold indefinitely early last year after government authorities advised it to concentrate on tackling data-security threats, according to a July story in the Wall Street Journal.
Carlyle Group Inc. and Sequoia Capital are among the investors of ByteDance, one of the world’s most valuable technology businesses.
According to persons familiar with the subject, ByteDance initiated a round of stock option buybacks from workers this month at $142 per share, up 7.6% from a previous repurchase last October. Top-performing employees were also given the opportunity to convert their yearly bonus into options at the same time.
Current workers indicated they were hesitant to convert their bonuses for stock options since the business had scrapped its IPO plan, and they were concerned that the weakened market situation would negatively impact any potential IPO performance.
Ms. Gao, who was born in Shanghai, studied law as an undergraduate at China’s Peking University after her father urged her to do so because he thought it would be a valuable major, she told the Journal in a 2019 interview. She was a reporter for the school newspaper in college and dabbled with Chinese calligraphy using a hard-tipped brush pen.
While at Skadden, Ms. Gao advised on the first share sale and other capital market operations of significant technology businesses including as Meituan and JD.com Inc., according to her personal page on the law firm’s website.
She advised ByteDance on its acquisitions of Musical.ly and Shanghai Moonton Technology Co., as well as guiding the Chinese tech business through various rounds of private equity funding.
Mr. Liang Rubo, in a letter to ByteDance employees, said that Ms. Gao had worked for the firm since 2016, and that “she is acquainted with our vision, culture, teams, and business.”
TikTok just requires one essential piece of information to figure out what you want, according to a Wall Street Journal investigation: the length of time you spend lingering over a piece of material. The app is monitoring you every second you pause or replay. Laura Kammermann/The Wall Street Journal photo illustration
According to a source familiar with the situation, Ms. Gao will begin her new post in the coming weeks, operating out of the company’s Hong Kong and Singapore headquarters.
Mr. Chew, a former CFO of Xiaomi Corp., was hired as ByteDance’s CFO in March of last year, then added his post as TikTok CEO two months later. By November, he had resigned as ByteDance’s CFO, according to the business.
—This article was co-written by Raffaele Huang.
Liza Lin can be reached at [email protected]
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The “tiktok cfo” is the new CFO of TikTok, Julie Gao. She has a lot of experience in finance and law.
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