Rich Waterworth

General Manager, UK, TikTok

Few companies have had such a transformational few months as TikTok.

The short-form-video app has seen stratospheric growth, blowing past 800 million monthly active users, after many people took to it to relieve their boredom during the pandemic. But such success has gained the attention of President Donald Trump, who has made the app an issue in his 2020 presidential campaign.

The company’s US, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand businesses look likely to be sold to Microsoft, with TikTok actively seeking to base its company outside of China away from the United States. Reports indicate the front-runner is London, which puts Rich Waterworth, TikTok’s general manager in the UK and Ireland, in the spotlight.

He’s spent two decades working in media and tech, including at YouTube.

“In that time, I’ve seen firsthand how the internet has changed all our lives and changed our culture,” he tells Business Insider, before news of the US sale broke. The app recently celebrated its second year in Europe, announcing a $300 million pot of money to help some of its high-performing content creators make money from the app.

UK-based staff numbers have quadrupled over the last year, and European staff levels have topped 1,000. “In the past two years, we’ve shown our commitment to taking a local approach to our growth,” he says. “Europe is without doubt of huge importance to us.”