In an email to his employees on Monday, Jack Ma, the founder of China’s e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba, announced an important management reshuffle at its financial affiliate Ant Financial. Current CEO Eric Jing has been appointed as the Executive Chairman of the company in addition to his current role. Former Executive chairman Lucy Peng is going to focus on the business of Lazada.
Eric Jing, who joined Alibaba in 2007, has held the position of CEO of Ant Financial since October 2016. He previously served Ant Financial as CFO, COO, and President and other leadership positions at Alibaba Group.
Rumor has it that Ant Financial is weighing up an IPO this year. Eric might be the person to take Ant Financial to its much-anticipated floating.
“Ant Financial doesn’t have a timetable or a plan for an IPO,” said a spokesperson from Ant Financial when approached by KrASIA on Monday.
Jack Ma describes Eric as “a person who shows “a unique combination of idealism, optimism, and professionalism” in the email.
Lucy Peng, who just took the helm as CEO of Lazada in March, will focus on the business growth of the Singapore-based company, spearheading Alibaba’s global strategy. The Chinese tech giant has invested a total $4 billion in Lazada, revealing its intention to deepen the integration of Lazada into its ecosystem and to double down on the SE Asian market.
“Lazada is well-positioned for the next phase of development of Internet-enabled commerce in this region, and we are excited about the incredible opportunities for super-charged growth,” said Peng in a press release after the investment in Lazada last month.
The SE Asian e-commerce market is believed to be comparably uncontested given the big difference in countries and their people. Apart from Alibaba, its archrival Tencent and JD.com are also eyeing to expand their reaches in the region, investing respectively in local e-commerce platforms including Vietnam’s Tiki and Indonesian Shopee.
Peng is one of the 18 co-founders of Alibaba alongside Jack Ma. She was the Chief People Officer at Alibaba before her eight years at Ant Financial. Under Peng, Ant Financial developed from a digital wallet to a comprehensive financial service platform. Her experience and insights are expected to help Alibaba conquer the market.