The Alibaba Group has announced a new chairman and chief executive to replace Daniel Zhang. Executive vice chairman Joseph Tsai will now become chairman while ecommerce executive Eddie Wu will replace Zhang as chief executive officer, the company said in a press statement.
Zhang, Alibaba group chairman and CEO, will remain fully dedicated to revive the Alibaba Cloud Intelligence business and continue to lead it as chairman and CEO. Zhang added, “the emergence of generative AI has also opened up exciting new opportunities that Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Group is well-positioned to capture.”
Meanwhile, Wu will continue to oversee Taobao and Tmall Group as its chairman whilst serving as Group CEO.
Zhang's shocking departure comes three months after Alibaba introduced the “1+6+N” model, that splits the business into six units with independent IPO plans.
Talking about the new appointments and transitions at Alibaba, Zhang said, “It has been an incredible honour and privilege to lead Alibaba Group as CEO over the past eight years and chairman over the past four years. 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. I look forward to working closely with Joe and Eddie in the coming months to ensure a seamless transition.”
Tsai added: “As chief technology officer of key businesses, including Taobao and Alipay, during Alibaba’s critical phases of development, Eddie was instrumental in architecting our technology platforms and guiding our strategic direction. He led the creation of our proprietary monetization platform on Taobao and Tmall and drove the launch of the Mobile Taobao App to propel our company to the mobile-first era. I look forward to working with Eddie to spark our next phase of growth through technology and innovation.”
According to Alibaba’s latest financial results, the cloud business is underperforming, and Tmall and Taobao were two more profitable than the group as a whole in the last fiscal year.
Zhang has been Alibaba Group’s Chairman for almost four years and CEO for eight years. He succeeded Jonathan Lu as Alibaba Group CEO in 2015.