Alibaba CEO and Chairman Zhang Yong to step down in Sep, will shift focus to cloud business
Published: Jun 24, 2023 08:39 PM
Alibaba's headquarters in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province Photo: cnsphoto

Alibaba's headquarters in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province Photo: cnsphoto

Alibaba CEO and Chairman Zhang Yong is set to step down in September and will focus on the cloud business, according to an internal letter announced by the official Alibaba WeChat account.

Zhang Yong will devote his full attention to his role as Chairman and CEO of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Group, with the goal of advancing Alibaba Cloud's industry competitiveness and global presence. The statement emphasized the provision of high-quality, secure, and convenient foundational services, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises undergoing digital transformation.

Joseph Tsai, the Group's executive vice chairman, will take over as Chairman of Alibaba Group, while Eddie Wu Yongming, chairman of Taobao & Tmall Group, will assume the position of CEO.

Zhang became CEO of Alibaba in 2015 and took on the additional role of chairman in 2019 following Jack Ma's decision to step down from his corporate responsibilities at the company he founded in 1997.

In a statement, Zhang expressed that the present moment is opportune for a transition, considering the significance of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Group and its progress towards a full spin-off.

Tsai, currently serving as the executive vice Chairman of Alibaba Group, has played a significant role in the company's birth and development. From 1999 to 2013, he served as the CFO and led the company's listing on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014. His global experience and understanding of the macro environment are expected to support Alibaba's internationalization efforts.

Alibaba recently underwent a major restructuring, dividing the company into six separate units. Each unit, including cloud, e-commerce, logistics, and media and entertainment, now has its own CEO and board of directors. This restructuring allows for greater agility in capturing new opportunities and managing risks independently.

Alibaba reported a 2 percent increase in revenues, amounting to 208 billion yuan ($30 billion), for the three-month period ending in March. The company plans to conduct an initial public offering (IPO) for its Freshippo grocery business and aims to list its Cainiao Smart Logistics subsidiary within the next 12 to 18 months. Additionally, plans have been revealed to spin off the struggling cloud business through a stock dividend to shareholders after completing a private fundraising round for the unit, as reported by the Financial Times.