Alibaba Group said Toby Xu, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, will succeed Maggie Wu as the company’s Chief Financial Officer, effective April 1, part of the group’s leadership succession planning.
Wu will continue as a partner and serve as an executive director on the Alibaba board.
Since joining Alibaba almost fifteen years ago, Wu has helped lead three company public listings as CFO: Alibaba.com on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2007, and Alibaba Group Holding on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014 and on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2019.
“Maggie is forever calm and unflappable, regardless of ups and downs in the global capital markets and macro environment. She is humble and resilient, and has been my irreplaceable and closest partner over the years,” said Daniel Zhang, Chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group.
The announcement of Alibaba’s CFO transition is the culmination of extensive preparation over many years and a part of Alibaba’s leadership succession planning.
“We are focused on the long-term, and succession within our management team on every occasion is always in the service of ensuring Alibaba will be stronger and better positioned for the future,” said Zhang.
“We are in a relay race and we must have new generations of talent to take the company forward. I trust Toby even more than I trusted myself when I first took up the CFO position years ago,” said Wu.
We are in a relay race and we must have new generations of talent to take the company forward
Xu joined Alibaba from one of the Big Four accounting firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), three years ago and was appointed Deputy Group CFO in July 2019. He took on increasing responsibilities that grew to include Alibaba’s strategic investments, in addition to financial management and operations.
“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.
The succession was widely expected among equity analysts as the group introduced Xu was as Deputy Group CFO during its last investor day and he helped facilitate the Q&A session.
“Ms. Wu has helped build a strong finance team and has been a strong
supporter to the senior management team and Alibaba Partnership…We had expected that Mr. Xu would one day succeed Ms. Wu as the Group CFO,” said Alicia yap, an analyst at bank Citigroup in a research report.
Xu joined Alibaba in July 2018 and was appointed Deputy Chief Financial Officer in July 2019. Before joining Alibaba, he was a partner at PWC for 11 years, where he joined in 1996.
He serves as a director of Sun Art Retail Group, Lianhua Supermarket Holdings and Red Star Macalline Group. He graduated from Fudan University in Shanghai, China, with a bachelor’s degree in Physics in 1996. He is a member of the Chinese Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
“I am confident that Toby – through his professional capabilities and leadership skills, and together with Daniel and the core management team – will successfully lead our team into the future,” said Wu.