China’s Alibaba names new CEO, chairman in executive shake-up

Eddie Wu will take over as CEO in September following a tumultuous period for the Chinese tech giant.

A view of the Alibaba HQ. It's a glass building with orange decoration. The company logo - in orange - is in front.
Alibaba Group is planning to take its cloud computing unit public [File: Aly Song/Reuters]

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has named Eddie Wu, chairman of its Taobao and Tmall Group, its new chief executive in the tech firm’s first major executive reshuffle since restructuring.

Wu will take over from Daniel Zhang, who was also the firm’s executive chairman and will focus on the company’s cloud intelligence business, Hangzhou-based Alibaba said in a statement on Tuesday.

Joseph Tsai, who is currently executive vice chairman, will take over from Zhang as group chairman.

The changes take effect in September.

Zhang said in a statement it was “the right time” for him to step down as the firm looks to implement a full spin-off of its cloud computing business, noting it was “inappropriate” for him to remain CEO and chairman while taking the cloud computing business public.

Alibaba has faced unprecedented headwinds in recent years as Beijing imposed tighter restrictions on the domestic technology sector.

Alibaba said in late March that it would split into six business groups in one of the most significant overhauls of a leading Chinese tech firm to date.

In May it said it aimed to complete the public listing of its cloud unit, which analysts say could be worth as much as $60bn, within the next 12 months.

Zhang, a former accountant, took over as Alibaba CEO and chairman from high-profile co-founder Jack Ma.

Ma, China’s best-known entrepreneur, has kept a low profile since late 2020 when Beijing pulled the initial public offering of Alibaba affiliate Ant Group in the wake of a speech he made attacking Chinese regulators. The company was then slapped with a record fine of $2.75bn for alleged unfair practices.

Wu, who co-founded Alibaba alongside Ma and Tsai in the late 1990s, will remain chairman of Taobao and Tmall Group, the company said.

Tsai, who owns the NBA basketball team Brooklyn Nets, is a Taiwan-born Canadian citizen.

Source: News Agencies