(Reuters) – Alibaba Group announced on Tuesday that its CEO and chairman of the board, Daniel Zhang, will step down from those roles to focus on its cloud division, while the Chinese e-commerce giant rolls out its plan to split into six divisions pushes.
The role of CEO will be handed over to Eddie Yongming Wu, chairman of Alibaba's Taobao and Tmall group, while vice chairman Joseph Tsai Zhang will succeed as chairman.
Here's what people are saying about the reshuffle:
JACOB COOKE, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF WPIC MARKETING + TECHNOLOGIES, AN E-COMMERCE CONSULTANCY BASED IN BEIJING:
“These leadership changes do not necessarily represent a major strategic shift within Alibaba as the individuals are co-founders and close associates of Jack Ma and are being promoted internally. If anything, this underlines the increasing importance of AI in the focus of the company.” At the same time, it underlines that e-commerce is the core business area.
“For governance reasons and also to maximize the benefits of the reorganization, they needed separate boards and management groups between Alibaba and the cloud spin-off.”
BRIAN WONG, FORMER ALIBABA EMPLOYEE AND AUTHOR OF THE TAO OF ALIBABA:
“Daniel's appointment to focus on cloud operations is truly a testament to the confidence in him to take the most valuable business and advance it in the right way in the age of generative AI. The idea or expectation you have.” It's an unreasonable expectation that someone could manage the company's crown jewel, the cloud, while also managing the entire Alibaba Group.
“This is really a vote of confidence in his abilities as an operator…while helping him free up time and resources by separating the two CEO roles.”
OSHADHI KUMARASIRI, LIGHTSTREAM RESEARCH PUBLISHING ON SMARTKARMA:
“I was surprised that he (Zhang) decided to step down from the CEO and chairman positions. We believe that cloud is more important than the rest of Alibaba in terms of information security, so it kind of makes sense to bring someone like him into the cloud business position.”
XIAOYAN WANG, ANALYST AT 86RESEARCH:
“Managing such a large company is not easy for anyone. So I think it's a ‘wait and see'. It won't have a big impact on the stock price in the short term. The company is still evaluating new changes, including management and business operations. May be further follow-up.
JIALONG SHI, Head of CHINA INTERNET EQUITY RESEARCH, NOMURA
“This will not have a significant impact on Alibaba's business. While this change is unexpected for the market, we understand that outgoing CEO Daniel Zhang has decided to step down as CEO of the group and we anticipate that he will focus solely on business on AliCloud.
“Alibaba management has made it clear that it is the CEOs of the newly formed subsidiaries who will direct the operations of these six subsidiaries.”
“It is not surprising that Daniel Zhang has decided to devote himself to running AliCloud. I suspect that leading AliCloud from the front line is more exciting for him than continuing to be CEO of the group.”
“Eddie Wu is one of the founders and should know the company and management team very well.
“He doesn't appear to have been at the helm of the Alibaba Group in recent years… but the role of Group CEO now doesn't appear to require the successor to have such a strong mandate to run the company because…” Now den entrusted this task to the CEOs of the subsidiaries.”
(Reporting by Casey Hall in Shanghai, Josh Ye in Hong Kong, Scott Murdoch in Sydney; Compiled by Anne Marie Roantree)