Alibaba undergoes reshuffle to rescue slowing growth rates

6 Dec 2021

Image: © THINK b/

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has appointed a new CFO and restructured its business in a major shake-up.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has revealed plans to reshuffle its organisational structure following a regulatory crackdown and slowing growth.

In a letter to the company’s employees, CEO Daniel Zhang wrote that a “‘diversified business governance’ will become Alibaba’s new organisational strategy” as it looks towards the future. “We want to explore new business governance approaches to drive more innovation and creativity across our teams and businesses.”

The company’s deputy chief financial officer, Toby Xu, will replace CFO Maggie Wu next April. Wu, who has been with Alibaba for almost 15 years, said Xu’s appointment was part of a “relay race” and that the company “must have new generations of talent” to take it forward.

Wu has helped lead three company public listings as CFO. was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2007, while Alibaba Group Holding entered onto the New York Stock Exchange in 2014 and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2019. She will continue as a partner and serve as an executive director on the Alibaba board.

Xu joined Alibaba three years ago from accounting firm PwC. “We are certain that Toby is the right person to serve as our new group CFO and, together with the core management team, will help lead our team towards our next success,” said Zhang.

As part of its plans to deal with increasing competition and domestic regulatory challenges, Alibaba is also restructuring parts of its business. The international digital commerce unit, led by Jiang Fan, will bring together Alibaba’s overseas consumer-facing and wholesale businesses such as AliExpress, which has customers in South America and Europe.

Meanwhile, Trudy Dai will head up a new unit for China digital commerce that will combine the company’s wholesale and consumer-facing marketplaces. Dai will oversee all of the Chinese retail marketplaces including the two main Alibaba platforms, Taobao and Tmall, as well as community e-commerce service Taocaicai and Lingshoutong, a retail management platform for independent SMEs.

Dai is a founding member and partner of the company who has served in a number of senior roles. Between 2014 and 2017 she was chief customer officer and earlier this year she became president of Taocaicai.

Alibaba recently cut its annual growth forecast amid increased competition and a regulatory crackdown. Sales at its annual flagship shopping event Singles Day last month grew at their slowest ever rate.

The retail giant has also had to contend with the Chinese government tightening restrictions on tech and other commercial sectors. Alibaba was hit with a $2.8bn anti-monopoly fine by regulators in China earlier this year.

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic