Alibaba and its financial arm Ant Financial announced a number of leadership changes this week, including a new chief executive for Ant Financial, as both companies look to capitalize on global opportunities.
In an internal memo obtained by the Post on Thursday, Ant Financial executive chairman Eric Jing announced the appointment of Simon Hu as the company’s new chief executive, overseeing the company’s digital finance and Alipay businesses amid growing domestic demand for these services in China.
Hu is taking over the chief executive duties from Jing, and will continue to report to the latter, who will remain in his role as executive chairman.
In the memo, Jing said he needed to dedicate more of his time and energy to “the future market potential of our globalization strategy”.
Hu has served as president of Ant Financial since November 2018 and was previously president of Alibaba Cloud. He will focus on leading the business to meet the growing domestic demand in China as well as helping more service industries engage in digital transformation and development, Ant Financial said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Jing will focus on future strategic developments by overseeing businesses including Ant Financial’s international business and smart technology business groups, the Hangzhou-based company added.
Aside from the appointment of Hu, Jing announced several other leadership changes in the internal memo. Angel Zhao, president of Alibaba Global Business Group since 2017, will assume the role of president of Ant Financial International business group, with Douglas Feagin as co-president.
Ant Financial chief technology officer Cheng Li will be assuming a new role as the chief technology officer of Alibaba Group, replacing Jeff Zhang Jianfeng. Cheng will hand over his current role to his deputy, Hu Xi.
Alibaba executive chairman and chief executive Daniel Zhang on Wednesday also announced in an internal letter to employees that Jiang Fan, the president of Taobao and Tmall, will oversee Alibaba’s digital marketing platform Alimama.
Alibaba’s president of wholesale marketplaces Trudy Dai will take charge of Alibaba’s Freshippo business unit, which runs a chain of new retail supermarkets that offers consumers an integrated online and offline grocery shopping experience.
Alibaba and Ant Financial typically restructure on an annual basis as the companies adjust their strategies. This is seen as a way to groom the next batch of leaders and distribute responsibility as well as new business opportunities.
Zhang said in the letter that the leadership changes were to help the company achieve three strategic objectives: globalization, meeting domestic demand in China and growth in big data and cloud computing.
Ant Financial echoed similar sentiments in their statement, saying that their recent reshuffle was “part of our efforts [to grow] our three strategic pillars, namely globalization, meeting domestic demand in China and technology”.
Ant Financial is one of China’s leading financial technology companies and runs Alipay, one of two dominant mobile payments services in the country. The company has since expanded to offer insurance and wealth management products and is currently valued at USD 150 billion.
Alibaba, which owns about a third of Ant Financial, is also the parent company of the South China Morning Post.
This article first appeared on the South China Morning Post.