The co-founder sold the app to Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion, but he kept his position as the company's CEO until 2018. But just two years after his retirement, Systrom could return to his CEO position, however, this time for Instagram's biggest competitor, TikTok.
According to recent reports, ByteDance, the parent company that owns TikTok is scrambling to find a replacement for Kevin Mayer who resigned from his chief executive position in 2020. Since then, the company has not had a CEO, but that could change pretty soon.
Ever since President Trump started a war against ByteDance, threatening to ban the video-sharing app in America, the company has been in talks with several tech giants who are eager to acquire TikTok's U.S. offices.
According to Trump's deal, ByteDance can only keep its app running in the U.S. if it picks an American CEO. While the company is scrambling to find the right fit for the role, Vanessa Pappas, the General Manager at TikTok's U.S. headquarters is acting as the temporary CEO.
Systrom's contributions to Instagram's success even reached ByteDance, which is why they approached him to lead the app's U.S. operations. The former CEO of Instagram left his position in 2018 and retired along with his co-founder Mike Krieger.
After their resignation, rumors starting swirling that the co-founders didn't agree with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's vision for the app, which created tension in the company.
Now the tech founder might come out of retirement to spearhead Instagram's rival app after ByteDance relinquishes control of its U.S. office after the controversy around the way it stores and safeguards users' data. This news is also seen as a confirmation that Systrom has severed all ties with Instagram and is ready to move forward with a different app.
TikTok's former CEO, Mayer, who had also spearheaded business conglomerates like Disney found it difficult to hold his position due to the changing political environment and the company's problematic structure.