China’s retail major Alibaba Group Holding unveiled its most significant business reshuffle since co-founder Jack Ma announced his impending retirement.
In its bid to bolster its investment focus in the face of slowing growth, Chief Financial Officer Maggie Wu will now oversee Alibaba’s strategic investments unit. She will be taking over from Executive Vice-Chairman Joe Tsai, who will support Wu in her expanded role, the firm said. Wu has been CFO since 2013.
Expanding Wu’s role in the firm is aimed at more tightly integrating Alibaba’s investments into its overall ecosystem.
Tsai is on the board and has served on investment committees of Alibaba Group and affiliate Ant Financial. He joined the company in 1999 and emerged as a key deal maker, helping to draw in investment from the likes of Goldman Sachs.
The firm’s supermarket division, Freshippo, will become a standalone business and enterprise software unit DingTalk will be merged into firm’s cloud unit, Alibaba confirmed, adding that the changes are effective from 18 June. The change comes as Alibaba invests in new business lines such as cloud computing.
According to reports by Reuters, the firm is considering raising as much as US $ 20 billion through a listing in Hong Kong to boost funds for investment.
“To guarantee innovation, invest in our future, Alibaba is undertaking an organisational upgrade,” the company said in a statement signed by Chief Executive Daniel Zhang, who will become chairman when Jack Ma retires on 10 September.
Alibaba’s outbound investment has slowed since a flurry of deals in 2014 and 2015.