Maggie Wu, Alibaba’s long-serving CFO, is stepping down from the Chinese e-commerce giant as the company restructures in order to battle slowing growth and curb the fall of its share price to a five-year low, reports the Financial Times. The e-commerce group founded by Jack Ma more than two decades ago has been under pressure since Ma criticized Chinese regulators in a Shanghai speech last year that led to the suspension of sister company Ant Group’s blockbuster initial public offering.
Alibaba’s US-listed shares have tumbled 64% since the IPO was derailed, and the group was fined a record $2.8bn for antitrust abuses this year. Analysts said it had poorly navigated Beijing’s campaign to rein in tech companies. “This year, Alibaba has raised its share buybacks while competitors like Tencent have spent big to fulfil the government’s common prosperity aims,” said Robin Zhu of Bernstein, referring to Beijing’s policy to encourage wealth redistribution.
“Investors have been discussing accountability in management so [Wu’s departure] is not a total surprise,” added Zhu, noting she had led the company for many years. Deputy finance chief Toby Xu, who joined Alibaba from accounting firm PwC three years ago, will take over the role from Wu in April.