The greatest restructuring in the history of the Chinese digital behemoth has seen Alibaba succeed Daniel Zhang as new chairman and CEO.
Alibaba (BABA) said Tuesday that executive vice chairman and co-founder Joseph Tsai will succeed Zhang in the role of new chairman. Eddie Wu, chairman of the Taobao and Tmall Group’s e-commerce division, will succeed Zhang in that role.
Both positions will become effective in September, and Zhang will continue to lead Alibaba’s cloud division as new chairman and CEO.
Significant Transition in Executive Leadership
After co-founder Jack Ma retired in 2019, Alibaba has experienced a significant transition in executive leadership twice in the past several years. It also happens just after the business disclosed its greatest reorganization in 24 years.
The business announced its division into six distinct groups in March, including cloud, e-commerce, logistics, media, and entertainment. Each unit now has its CEO and board of directors, and the majority of them can undertake independent listing or fundraising efforts. Zhang, a former accountant, took over as Alibaba’s new chairman and CEO from high-profile co-founder Jack Ma.
Given the significance of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Group as it moves closer to a full spin-off, now is the ideal moment for me to make a change, Zhang said in the announcement. He has served as CEO since 2015. He continued by saying that “exciting new opportunities” have arisen for the company’s cloud business as a result of the introduction of generative AI.
Wu, who was also a co-founder of Alibaba, oversaw technology at the time the business was founded in 1999. “While our current transformation brings in a new corporate organizational and governance structure, Alibaba’s mission remains unchanged,” he declared.
Eight years after joining the company, in May 2015, Zhang was named CEO by Alibaba. He took over for Jack Ma as executive chairman in 2019 when Ma, who had promised to retire on his birthday and the company’s 20th anniversary, did so.
Largest e-commerce corporation
The Taobao and Tmall platforms operated by Alibaba, the largest e-commerce corporation in China, have more than 900 million active users per year. Additionally, it runs the biggest digital payment and cloud computing platforms in the nation. The business, however, as well as its co-founder Ma, have recently been the target of a broad crackdown by Beijing.
Beijing abruptly postponed the blockbuster IPO of Ant Group, a unit of Alibaba that runs Alipay, after Ma criticized Chinese financial regulations in a speech in late 2020. The cancellation signaled the beginning of a regulatory assault on the nation’s private sector and internet business, during which Beijing fined Alibaba Group a record-breaking $2.8 billion for breaking antitrust laws.
Since then, Ma had mainly withdrawn from the public eye and from his firms. According to reports, he has spent more time abroad, particularly in Hong Kong and Japan, where his friend and another Alibaba investor, SoftBank CEO Masa Son, resides. But in March, just days before Alibaba revealed its significant restructuring plan, he made an unexpected public visit to mainland China. Analysts believe that Beijing used his homecoming as a symbolic gesture and “planned media event” to allay concerns in the private sector.
Ma has since been more visible in public and has a more overt concentration on her research and teaching. Ma will enroll in the University of Hong Kong’s business school for the upcoming three years, according to an announcement made in April. According to a statement from the institution, Ma delivered his first lecture as a visiting professor at the Institution of Tokyo last week.