While the detailed reasons for Zhang's departure from the CEO role have not been disclosed, according to TechCrunch, his decision stems from a strategic shift within Alibaba. Zhang's focus will now shift towards managing the company's cloud business following Alibaba's business restructuring.
This move is intended to enable Alibaba to catch up with other companies that have already made significant strides in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).
“Zhang will be dedicated to managing the cloud business as part of Alibaba's business reorganization. It is worth noting that since last December, Zhang has held three pivotal roles within Alibaba,” explained an Alibaba spokesperson.
To fill the void left by Zhang, the CEO position will be handed over to Eddie Yongming Wu, the head of Taobao and Tmall Group at Alibaba. Meanwhile, Joseph Tsai, the Executive Vice Chairman, will assume Zhang's role as Chairman. The appointments of both Wu and Tsai took place on September 10.
Profile of Daniel Zhang
Zhang pursued his education at Shanghai University, majoring in Finance and Economics. He previously served as the CFO of Shanda Interactive Entertainment, a gaming company based in China.
Furthermore, Zhang held senior managerial positions in the audit and business advisory divisions at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Shanghai.
In 2007, Zhang joined Alibaba as the Chief Financial Officer of Taobao Marketplace. A year later, he was entrusted with the roles of Chief Operating Officer of Taobao Marketplace and General Manager of Taobao Mall.
Under his leadership, Taobao Mall experienced rapid growth and became one of the key subsidiaries of Alibaba Group.
Moreover, Zhang is renowned for his brilliance in generating unique ideas, including pioneering the launch of the world's largest online shopping festival, known as “11.11” or “Single Day.”