By Raffaele Huang
Alibaba Group Holding’s former chairman Daniel Zhang stepped down as chairman and chief executive of its cloud business unit on Sunday.
Eddie Wu, an Alibaba co-founder, has become acting head of the cloud unit after Zhang’s departure, an Alibaba spokesperson said in a statement.
Wu and Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai, a close ally of fellow co-founder Jack Ma, also officially succeeded Zhang as Alibaba Group’s CEO and Chairman, respectively on Sunday, completing a leadership reshuffle announced in June.
The Chinese tech behemoth is undergoing a reorganization that will break itself into multiple independent companies, as it seeks to be more nimble and attempts to get its core e-commerce business back on a growth track amid fierce competition.
Alibaba is aiming for a public listing of its cloud unit, the second-largest business by revenue after its domestic e-commerce division, by the spring of next year. The arm grew 4% in the April-June quarter, the slowest growth rate among the group’s six divisions. At the earnings call after the results, Zhang blamed the decline in post-pandemic demand as well as that from one of its top customers.
A separate management team will be appointed to head up the cloud unit, the company spokesperson said.
Zhang, who became CEO of the unit last year, said in June that he would be fully dedicated to the cloud business.
Zhang volunteered to resign from the cloud unit and will set up a fund to support Alibaba’s technology ecosystem and investment, Tsai said in a letter sent to Alibaba employees on Sunday that was viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Tsai said in the letter that Alibaba plans to invest $1 billion in the fund.
A former PricewaterhouseCoopers financial consultant, Zhang joined Alibaba in 2007 to lead the finance and operations of Taobao-Alibaba’s flagship marketplace-and became the group’s chairman in 2019 when Ma stepped down.
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