Beijing: Alibaba Group Holding is replacing eight-year veteran chief Daniel Zhang.
Executive Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai will take Zhang’s position as the chairman of the board. Eddie Wu, now chairman of Alibaba’s core Taobao and Tmall online commerce divisions, will take over as chief executive of the $240 billion company.
Zhang’s shock departure comes after Alibaba announced a six-way restructuring to try and juice growth and create a family of standalone leaders in businesses from cloud computing and logistics to international commerce. He unveiled his grand vision in detail just as Alibaba posted its third consecutive quarter of single-digit revenue growth, reinforcing concerns that a Chinese consumer spending rebound may be farther out than anticipated.
Zhang will remain head of the cloud business. He took the helm in 2015 after rising to prominence as one of the architects of Alibaba’s “new retail” initiative, intended to marry physical and online retail and extend the company’s dominance into areas from malls to supermarkets. He became chairman a few years later as growth surged and Alibaba at one point became China’s most valuable company.