Alibaba CEO to Step Down, Lead Cloud Business Spin-Off
Alibaba Group said in a surprise announcement Tuesday Eddie Wu will succeed Daniel Zhang as its chief executive, a move that will free Zhang to focus on the company’s cloud intelligence business, CNBC reported. Zhang will continue to lead the Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Group as chairman and CEO after this change, which the company said will take effect Sept. 10.
The company also announced Joe Tsai will take Zhang’s place as the group’s chairman. Brooklyn Nets owner Tsai is currently Alibaba’s executive vice chairman.
This succession plan comes after China’s largest e-commerce company said in March it will restructure its company into six business groups in the most significant reorganization in its history, aiming to reinvigorate the company after slowing economic growth in its home market and tougher Beijing regulations combined to hit its bottom line.
Total Retail's Take: The executive shuffle at Alibaba highlights the Chinese retailer's focus on its cloud computing business as a major growth driver, and the organization's trust in Zhang. The exiting CEO will be tasked with getting the cloud business back to growth and moving the unit to an initial public offering.
“Cloud Intelligence Group is now full speed ahead on its spin-off plans and we are approaching a crucial stage of the process, so it is the right time for me to dedicate my full attention and time to the business,” Zhang said in an internal memo to Alibaba staff.
Alibaba said last month it aims for the cloud computing unit division to become an independent publicly-listed company within the next 12 months. Other than cloud intelligence, the other five business units planned for the restructure include Alibaba's Taobao Tmall business; its local services arm focusing on food delivery and mapping; the Cainiao Smart logistics business; its global e-commerce business including AliExpress and Lazada; and its digital media and entertainment business.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Total Retail and sister brands Women in Retail Leadership Circle and Women Leading Travel & Hospitality at NAPCO Media. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for all brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, WLT&H or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment—or at home on Zoom—recording interviews with thought leaders and business executives.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her family and two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.