Alibaba managed to take the title for the largest global IPO ever in September, and the company is about to be under new (yet familiar) leadership .
Alibaba reported its March 2015 and fiscal year 2015 financial results on Thursday while also announcing that COO Daniel Zhang will become CEO of Alibaba Group starting May 10. He will replace Jonathan Lu, who will reaamin on the board of directors as Vice Chairman, and will work with Zhang through a transition period over the coming months.
“I’m excited to take on this new challenge," said Zhang. "It is an immense responsibility, and I’m grateful to every member of the Alibaba team for their commitment and dedication to excellence.”
“I’m proud of the Alibaba team and all that we have accomplished together,” added Lu. “Over many years, I have seen just how critical Alibaba’s culture and talent are to our success, and I’m excited to take on this new role helping to develop the next generation of leaders at our company.”
Executive Chairman Jack Ma said, “Daniel is a proven international business leader and innovator with a strong track record of delivering results. He has the confidence of our entire management team, and there is no better person to lead Alibaba Group as we embark on the next stage of our growth on top of the strong foundation that Jonathan helped build. I am grateful to Jonathan Lu for his excellent leadership and management over the past several years, and I look forward to his continued contribution as a key leader in helping Alibaba Group train and develop the next generation of leaders. Alibaba Group has a strong and deep bench of talented executives who will help lead the company for the years to come. Today’s announcement reflects our commitment to continuing to develop strong leadership from within.”
Who is Daniel Zhang?
Zhang has been with the company for eight years, holding different top management positions in that time. He's one of the founding members of the Alibaba partnership, and has been COO since September 2013. In this role, he oversaw the operations of all Alibaba Group business in China as well as internationally.
Zhang joined Alibaba as CFO of Taobao Marketplace in 2007. The following year he was appointed COO of Taobao Marketplace and GM of Taobao Mall. According to Alibaba, Taobao Mall "rapidly" became one of the company's most important businesses under his leadership. In 2011, he was named president when it became an independent business unit, Tmall.com, which the company refers to as "one of the world's largest online B2C platforms."
The company says he was also a "key architect" of the November 11 Shopping Festival, and led it to what it calls the world's largest online shopping event.
Before joining Alibaba Group, Zhang was CFO of Shanda Interactive Entertainment, an online game developer and operator. Before that, he was senior manager of PricewaterhouseCoopers' Audit and Business Advisory Division in Shanghai. Before that he worked in the Shanghai office of Arthur Andersen for seven years.
He received a bachelor's degree in finance from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, and is a member of the Chinese Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He also serves on the boards of directors of CITIC 21 and Haier. Both of these are listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In addition to those seats, he's been serving on the board of directors of Weibo for about a year.
Alibaba beat Wall Street expectations on its earnings report with quarterly sales of $2.8 billion (up 45%) and adjusted earnings per share of $0.43.
Image via Alibaba