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Alibaba appoints new CEO in cloud unit listing plans -- Alibaba Group (HK:9988) (NYSE:BABA) said on Tuesday that current chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang will step down after eight years of leading the e-commerce giant, and will helm the company’s cloud unit spin-off.

The firm said that Eddie Yongming Wu, chairman of Taobao and Tmall Group will take over from Zhang as CEO, while Joseph Tsai, who is currently executive vice chair, will replace Zhang as chairman. Wu will also retain his post as head of Taobao.

Zhang will continue to serve as chairman and CEO of Alibaba’s Cloud Intelligence unit, as the e-commerce giant seeks to spin off and potentially list six of its biggest units in the coming year.

“This is the right time for me to make a transition, given the importance of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Group as it progresses towards a full spin-off,” Zhang said in a statement issued by Alibaba.

Zhang had first joined Taobao as its chief financial officer in 2013, before being promoted to lead e-commerce hub Tmall. Zhang was then appointed as CEO of Alibaba in 2015, and was also named chairman of the firm by founder Jack Ma in 2019.

The changes in top leadership come just a few months after Alibaba flagged plans to split itself into six independent and potentially listed units, with the core firm transitioning to more of a holding entity.

The move was well-received by shareholders, who have long argued that the company could generate more value by spinning off its biggest moneymakers. The move was also seen as a bid to appease Chinese regulators, who had enacted a crackdown on the country’s biggest technology firms over allegedly monopolistic practices.

Alibaba’s cloud unit was also facing a recent slowdown in sales, amid increased competition from peers such as Tencent Holdings Ltd (HK:0700), and worsening global demand.

Alibaba’s Hong Kong shares were trading down 1.6% on Tuesday by the midday break, while the broader Hang Seng index sank over 1%.

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