TikTok Shake-Up: COO V. Pappas Steps Down, Disney PR Vet Zenia Mucha to Head Communications

Adam Presser, the video platform’s chief of staff, will become its head of operations

V Pappas and Zenia Mucha
V Pappas and Zenia Mucha (Getty Images/Disney)

TikTok rolled out a series of executive shakeups Thursday, announcing Disney PR veteran Zenia Mucha will head the social platform’s comms department as chief brand and communications officer while longtime COO V. Pappas steps down.

“TikTok’s ability to encourage creativity, connect people and create communities is nothing short of inspiring and I am excited to be joining this innovative and dynamic company,” Mucha said in a statement.

At Disney, Mucha had a reputation for being tough on media and fiercely defending the company’s family-friendly image. In her role, she oversaw the house of the mouse’s communications strategy and media relations. She was also an ally of the company’s CEO, Bob Iger. She left Disney in 2022, 21 years after coming aboard in 2001.

This isn’t Mucha’s first encounter with TikTok since leaving Disney; she served as an adviser for the company earlier this year to challenge Congress on a proposed ban of the TikTok’s eponymous and popular video-sharing app.

Adam Presser will become the company’s head of operations following his run as its chief of staff. In the role, Presser will handle global operations including content, distribution, and user operations, in addition to continuing leadership of the project management office. His role’s purpose will be to bolster cross-division collaboration as well as to “develop the voices of TikTok’s vibrant and diverse ecosystem.”

In a memo to staff, Pappas announced the decision to leave after five years with the company, writing, “Given all the successes reached at TikTok, I finally feel the time is right to move on and refocus on my entrepreneurial passions. Few had imagined what the last five years would look like and with all the incredible innovation happening now with generative AI, robotics, renewable energy, genomics, blockchain and the IoT, clearly the future will again look much different.”

Pappas briefly addressed the challenges the company has faced (though not specifically naming the TikTok app’s statewide Montana ban or the U.S. government’s growing mistrust of the company) and committed to supporting CEO Shou Chew and the co. during the transitionary period, wherein Pappas will serve in an advisory capacity.

“For our amazing community of creators, employees, and people who have come to TikTok everyday to bring them joy and creativity — it’s through everything you do that TikTok is what it is today. It has been an absolute privilege to serve you all and to be a part of this rocketship and once in a lifetime journey of a once unknown product called TikTok,” Pappas said, concluding the memo with a final “thank you.”

Information from Eileen AJ Connelly and Tim Baysinger contributed to this report.