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Alibaba Promotes CFO: What It Means For Investors

Jayson Derrick

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding (NYSE: BABA) announced CFO Maggie Wu will be tasked with running the company's strategic investments unit, Reuters reported Tuesday. 

What Happened

Wu will take over responsibility from Executive Vice-Chairman Joe Tsai, who was demoted to a supportive role in the strategic investments unit, according to Reuters.

The change comes at a time when Alibaba is investing in new business lines like cloud computing at a time when e-commerce growth is slowing.

Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang was quoted by Reuters as saying the "organizational upgrade" is needed to "guarantee innovation."

Why It's Important

Alibaba's management shuffle represents the most significant changes at the senior level since co-founder Jack Ma announced his retirement, Alibaba said. Wu will be tasked with integrating Alibaba's investments into its overall ecosystem, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

On the other hand, Tsai's demotion is seen as a function of his "right-hand man" status to Ma, author Duncan Clark told Reuters.

Ma's pending retirement "begged the question as to whether the right-hand man would follow suit," Clark said. 

What's Next

Ma will retire from his role as chairman Sept. 10 and will be replaced with CEO Zhang. Wu's promotion is effective immediately, and Tsai will hold on to his executive vice chairman title.

Alibaba shares were up 3.83% at $165.98 at the time of publication Tuesday. 

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Stifel Adds Alibaba To Select List, Sees 40% Upside Potential

Photo courtesy of Alibaba. 

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