Alibaba moves to reshape ecommerce businesses, names new CFO

Alibaba Group Holding said in a statement on Monday it will reorganise its international and domestic ecommerce businesses and replace its chief financial officer (CFO) due to the tech giant grappling with competition, a slowing economy and a regulatory crackdown.

Toby Xu will succeed Maggie Wu as its new CFO from April 1, 2022. Xu joined Alibaba from PricewaterhouseCoopers three years ago and was appointed deputy group CFO in July 2019.

Wu, who has been Alibaba’s CFO since 2013 and has helped lead three Alibaba-related company listings, will continue to serve as an executive director on Alibaba’s board.

The statement also revealed that she will remain as a partner in the Alibaba Partnership – a group of senior executives who have the right to nominate a simple majority of Alibaba’s board of directors.

“We are focused on the long-term, and succession within our management team on every occasion is always in the service of ensuring Alibaba will be stronger and better positioned for the future,” said Daniel Zhang, chairman, and chief executive officer of Alibaba Group.

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With this new development, the company will form two new units – international digital commerce and China digital commerce which it said was part of efforts to become more agile and accelerate growth.

The international digital commerce unit will include AliExpress to handle its e-commerce businesses in the international market, while China Digital Commerce team will be in charge of e-commerce operations inside China.

The international and domestic digital commerce teams will be led by executives Jiang Fan and Trudy Dai respectively.

Jiang Fan had been in charge of Alibaba’s main Chinese retail marketplaces, and the change is seen in line with the company’s aim to make ‘globalisation’ a key focus area in addition to cloud computing and domestic consumer spending.

Globalisation “helps Alibaba to get new traffic volume externally and seek new growth potential while China has been increasing supervision,” said Hong Kong-based Guotai Junan analyst Danny Law.

In November, Alibaba cut its sales outlook for the year amid mounting competition from rivals such as Pinduoduo. It expects growth for its current year to be the slowest since it listed in New York in 2014. It also saw sales at its banner event, online shopping festival Singles Day, grow at their slowest rate ever.

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