In A Dramatic Reorganisation, Alibaba Names a New Chairman And CEO.
As the Chinese tech giant goes through the biggest shakeup in its history, Alibaba is replacing Daniel Zhang as chairman and CEO, according to Hong Kong CNN.
The company announced on Tuesday that Joseph Tsai, executive vice chairman and co-founder of Alibaba (BABA), will succeed Zhang as chairman. Zhang will be replaced as chief executive officer by Eddie Wu, chairman of Taobao and Tmall Group, the company’s e-commerce division.
Zhang will continue to be the chairman and CEO of Alibaba’s cloud unit, and both appointments will take effect in September.
After Alibaba’s co-founder Jack Ma left the company in 2019, this is the second major leadership shift in a few years. In addition, it occurs just a few months after the company made the announcement of its largest restructuring in 24 years.
The organization said in Spring that it was parting into six separate units, including cloud, online business, strategies, media and amusement. Now that each unit has its own CEO and board of directors, most of them are able to pursue separate listings or fundraising efforts.
Zhang stated in the announcement, “This is the right time for me to make a transition, given the importance of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Group as it progresses towards a full spin-off.” Since 2015, he has been CEO of Alibaba.
He went on to say that the development of generative AI has provided the cloud business of the company with “exciting new opportunities.”
Wu, who was also a co-founder of Alibaba, was in charge of technology when the company started in 1999.
He stated, “Ababa’s mission remains unchanged while our current transformation brings in a new corporate organizational and governance structure.”
In May 2015, eight years after joining Alibaba, Zhang was given the position of CEO. He took over for Jack Ma as executive chairman in 2019, as Ma had promised to retire on his birthday and the company’s 20th anniversary.
With more than 900 million monthly active users on its Taobao and Tmall platforms, Alibaba is the largest e-commerce company in China. It also runs the largest cloud computing and digital payment platforms in the nation.
However, the company and its co-founder Ma have been at the center of Beijing’s extensive crackdown in recent years.
Beijing called off the mega-IPO of Ant Group, Alibaba’s affiliate that owns Alipay, at the last minute following Ma’s public criticism of Chinese financial regulators in late 2020. The cancellation signaled the beginning of a regulatory campaign against the country’s private sector and internet industry, during which Beijing fined Alibaba Group a record $2.8 billion for antitrust violations.
Ma had continued to distance himself from his businesses and largely vanished from public view since then. He is said to have spent more time abroad, including in Japan and Hong Kong, where his friend and Alibaba investor Masa Son is CEO of SoftBank.
However, a few days prior to Alibaba’s major restructuring plan being announced, he made an unexpected public appearance in mainland China in March. Analysts believe that Beijing’s “planned media event” to placate concerns about the private sector was his symbolic return.
Ma has been making more public appearances since then, putting a greater emphasis on research and teaching. Ma’s three-year appointment to the University of Hong Kong’s business school was announced in April.
According to a statement from the university, Ma gave his first lecture as a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo last week.