Alibaba Group (9988.HK) said on Tuesday that CEO and chairman Daniel Zhang will step down to focus on its cloud division as the Chinese e-commerce behemoth splits into six business segments.
Jacob Cooke, co-founder and CEO of Beijing-based e-commerce consultancy WPIC Marketing + Technologies
Since the people are co-founders, close allies of Jack Ma, and promoted internally, these leadership moves may not necessarily imply a big strategic shift inside Alibaba. It emphasizes AI’s growing role in the company’s focus and e-commerce’s centrality.
“They needed separate boards and management groups between Alibaba and the cloud spin-off for governance and to maximize value from the re-organization.”
“The Tao of Alibaba” author Brian Wong:
“The hiring of Daniel to lead cloud is truly a demonstration of confidence and faith in him to take the most valuable business and run with it to build it in the correct way given this age of generative AI. One individual cannot oversee Alibaba Group and its crown asset Cloud.
“This is really a vote of trust and confidence in his ability as an operator… but at the same time helping him free up his time and resources by separating the two CEO roles.”
Zhang’s resignation as CEO and chairman stunned me. We think Cloud has more information security than the rest of Alibaba, therefore it makes sense to place someone like him in the Cloud business.”
86RESEARCH Analyst XiAOYAN Wang:
Leading a large firm is difficult. So it’s a wait-and-see. No immediate impact on share price. Management and commercial operations are currently under consideration. More may follow.”
JIALONG SHI, NOMURA CHINA INTERNET EQUITY RESEARCH HEAD
This won’t affect Alibaba’s companies. The market was surprised by this development, but we believe outgoing CEO Daniel Zhang has resigned to focus on AliCloud.
“Alibaba management has said that the CEOs of the six newly founded companies would handle their operations.
Daniel Zhang’s commitment to AliCloud is unsurprising. I think he prefers operating AliCloud to becoming Group CEO.”
Eddie Wu, a founder, should know the business and management team well.
“He doesn’t seem to have been in the driver’s seat of the Alibaba Group for the past few years… but the Group CEO role now does not seem to require the successor to have such a strong mandate to run the business, because it’s now the CEOs of the subsidiaries that are being trusted to do that job.”