Alibaba Says Its Chairman, Daniel Zhang, Will Step Down in September

In a major overhaul at the top of the company, Alibaba Group, China’s leading e-commerce giant, announced on Tuesday that Daniel Zhang would relinquish his role as chairman and chief executive of the company.

Mr. Zhang said he would continue to serve as chief executive of Alibaba’s cloud computing division. Joseph Tsai, an Alibaba veteran who is the company’s executive vice chairman, will succeed Mr. Zhang as chairman and as a member of Alibaba’s board of directors.

The leader of Alibaba’s e-commerce division, Eddie Yongming Wu, will succeed Mr. Zhang as chief executive, the company added. Mr. Wu is currently chairman of Taobao and Tmall Group, Alibaba’s e-commerce services. He will continue to lead both of those platforms as Alibaba’s chief executive.

The changes will take effect on Sept. 10.

The reshuffle comes just a few months after Alibaba said it would split itself into six divisions in what it called the “most significant” overhaul in its 24-year history. As part of the shift, each division came under the leadership of an independent chief executive, and Mr. Zhang took on the additional title of chief executive of Alibaba’s cloud intelligence group.

With the latest change, Mr. Zhang will no longer be Alibaba’s top leader, a role long occupied by the company’s founder, Jack Ma, instead taking on a smaller role as a division head.

Mr. Ma was driven out of the public eye after criticizing Chinese regulators in 2020 for stifling innovation at Ant Group, Alibaba’s financial technology sister company. After his remarks, Chinese officials suspended plans for Ant Group to sell stock in an initial public offering.

Mr. Tsai, who will now be running Alibaba, met Mr. Ma in 1999 when Alibaba was still a free online portal, and joined the company that same year. He helped Mr. Ma secure early investments from Goldman Sachs and SoftBank. He stewarded the company’s initial public offering in New York in 2014, then the largest in history. Alibaba’s executive chairman since 2013, Mr. Tsai is the primary owner of the Brooklyn Nets, a National Basketball Association team.

This is a developing news story. Check back for updates.

Chang Che is the Asia technology correspondent for The Times. He previously worked for The China Project and as a freelance writer covering Chinese technology and society. @changxche

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