Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Alibaba group announced Daniel Zhang will step down from the company’s cloud business.
Quote Reuters, this is a surprising move. Just two months ago, Zhang announced that he was leaving the position of CEO of Alibaba Group because he wanted to focus on managing the cloud business unit.
Zhang previously held three positions, including leading the group and the cloud intelligence unit. The unit is China’s largest cloud provider and will be separated from Alibaba as part of the group’s restructuring.
The company did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters so that Zhang would be willing to comment.
The cloud business is a key part of the Chinese e-commerce giant’s restructuring announced in March. The restructuring carried out divided the company into six units, each with its own board of directors and CEO.
Alibaba said in May it aims to complete the public listing of its cloud unit within the next 12 months. At the end of last week, the company stated that it would continue to implement the spin-off plan under a separate, appointed management team.
Analysts estimate the cloud unit is worth US$41 billion to US$60 billion. But they said the large amount of data being monitored could place the unit under the scrutiny of regulators at home and abroad.
“Daniel has expressed his desire to transition from his role as chairman and CEO of Cloud Intelligence Group,” the company said in a letter signed by Joseph Tsai, the Alibaba co-founder who also took over the chairman’s role from Zhang.
“After careful consideration, Alibaba’s board of directors respects and accepts Daniel’s decision and appoints Eddie as chairman and CEO of Cloud Intelligence Group, with immediate effect,” the statement said.
Zhang will continue to contribute to Alibaba in different roles. The letter states that Alibaba will invest US$1 billion in a technology fund that Zhang will set up. The company also gave Zhang the title of “emeritus”, a first in its history.
“The funds will support Alibaba’s investment strategy for future growth and continued development of our technology ecosystem,” the company wrote.
Zhang took over as head of Alibaba’s cloud unit in December after suffering an outage described as the “longest large-scale failure” in more than a decade.
A former accountant, Zhang joined Alibaba in 2007 and is known as the person behind Alibaba’s annual “Singles Day” shopping festival. He was appointed CEO in 2015 and chairman in 2019, succeeding both roles from Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma.
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