BEIJING, September 11 (TiPost)— Alibaba Group announced Daniel Zhang, or, Zhang Yong, resigned as head of its cloud division right after Jack Ma’s successor transition out of the group’s leadership.
Alibaba completed the management transition on September 10, which means from the day on, Joseph Tsai serves as Alibaba’s Chairman and Eddie Yongming Wu became CEO, Tsai said in his internal letter to employees. Tsai said the board of directors accepted the resignation application from Zhang as the company is on the track of a smooth transition, and decided to name Eddie Wu as the acting chairman and CEO of the cloud unit.
Alibaba announced in late March to split into six business groups, including Taobao Tmall Group, Alibaba International Digital Commerce Group, Local Services Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Limited, Cloud Intelligence Group, Digital Media and Entertainment Group. Five of these major business groups will have the flexibility to raise external capital and potentially to seek its own IPO, with the exception of Taobao & Tmall Group, which will remain wholly-owned by Alibaba Group. Daniel Zhang called the move “the most significant governance overhaul” in Alibaba’s history and said each business group is fully responsible for its performance, with financial independence.
Alibaba in June said Zhang would step down from both Chairman and CEO to focus on its cloud unit in September, succeeded by the Executive Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai as the Chairman, and Eddie Yongming Wu, the Chairman of Taobao and Tmall, as the new CEO.Zhang at that time said a key reason for his quit as company chief is to focus on spin-off of the cloud business.
In his letter on September 10, Tsai showed gratitude to Daniel Zhang for his efforts and contributions and noted he has made outstanding achievements since he join in Alibaba 16 years ago. With the joint effort of Zhang and the leadership team, Alibaba’s biggest ever overhaul has basically taken shape and achieved initial results, laying an important foundation for the next stage of the company's development, Tsai said.
According to the letter, Zhang will continue to work for Alibaba in a different way as the company will invest $1 billion in a technology fund that Zhang would establish, which will help it create better ecosystem for its technology development in the future. Alibaba’s partners has agreed to give Zhang an emeritus title, the first in its 24-year history, to show appreciation for his great efforts and outstanding contributions to the company, the letter said.
As the CEO for eight years, Daniel Zhang was a successor of Jack Ma, Alibaba’s cofounder, as the Chairperson since September, 2019. It’s the right time for him to make a transition as Alibaba Cloud plays a key role in progressing forward a full spin-off, Zhang said when Alibaba announced the plan of chairman and CEO exit in June. He vowed to strengthen the cloud unit’s market leadership by making cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) more accessible for businesses of all sizes and industries, adding AI “has also opened up exciting new opportunities that Alibaba Cloud is well-positioned to capture."
Both Joseph Tsai and Eddie Yongming Wu are Alibaba’s cofounders. Tsai served as the director since the company founded in 1999, and took the position of Chief Financial Officer from the inception to 2013, and led the Chinese internet giant to go public in New York in 2014. He was named as the Chairman of Cainiao Smart Logistics, one of six Alibaba’s new divisions, in May. Wu used to be the chief technology officer of Alipay and Taobao in 2004 and 2005 respectively, and then took the role of leader of Alibaba’s search, advertaising and mobile business in October, 2011. He was named as the Chairman of Taobao and Tmall Group, another new division, since May.