Alibaba Appoints Two Independent Directors Boosting Corporate Governance

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Alibaba Appoints Two Independent Directors Boosting Corporate Governance



Alibaba Group said on Thursday it had appointed Irene Yun-Lien Lee, Chairman of Hysan Development, and Albert Kong Ping Ng, a former Chairman of Ernst & Young China, as independent directors to its board as it moves to enhance corporate governance.

The appointments are effective from August 4, raising the number of Alibaba’s female board members to three. Seven out of twelve of its board members are independent directors.

“The new independent board member appointments are part of Alibaba’s ongoing enhancement of our corporate governance,” said Daniel Zhang, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group.

The new independent board member appointments are part of Alibaba’s ongoing enhancement of our corporate governance,
– Daniel Zhang  Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group

Alibaba is seeking to change its secondary listing in Hong Kong to primary status so it can attract more investors from China. The platform company’s board of directors has authorized management to apply for a dual-primary listing on the Main Board of Hong Kong’s stock exchange.

“Irene and Albert are both respected leaders with invaluable understanding and experience in global markets including mainland China and Hong Kong,” said Zhang. “I believe Alibaba will greatly benefit from their insight, especially in light of our plans for dual-primary listing in Hong Kong to further broaden and diversify our investor base.”

Ms. Irene Yun Lien Lee
Irene Yun-Lien Lee

Lee has been the executive chairman of Hong Kong-listed Hysan Development since March 2012. Before that she was Hysan’s non-executive chairman from May 2011 to March 2012, and non-executive director from March 2011 to May 2011.

Previously, Lee was an executive director of Citicorp Investment Bank in New York, London and Sydney, and head of corporate finance at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and chief executive officer of Sealcorp Holdings, both based in Sydney.

Lee serves as the independent non-executive chairman of Hang Seng Bank and various private and unlisted companies. She was until April 2022 an independent director of HSBC Holdings.

She received a bachelor of arts degree from Smith College, and is barrister-at-law in England and Wales and a member of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn, United Kingdom.

“The focus of my career has been to create a deep connection with consumers by curating top of mind physical destinations, where people come to work, shop and play. I am delighted to join Alibaba, with its mission to make it easier to do business with anyone, anywhere,” said Lee.

Mr. Albert Kong Ping Ng
Albert Kong Ping Ng

Ng serves as an independent non-executive director and chairman of the audit committee of a number of public companies, including Ping An Insurance, Beijing Airdoc Technology and China International Capital Corporation.

Ng worked at Ernst & Young China from April 2007 to June 2020, where he was the chairman of Ernst & Young China and a member of Ernst & Young’s Global Executive Board.

Prior to joining Ernst & Young, he was Greater China Managing Partner of Arthur Andersen, Managing Partner – China Operation of PricewaterhouseCoopers and Managing Director of Citigroup – China Investment Banking.

Ng is the president of the Hong Kong China Chamber of Commerce, a member of the audit committee of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and a council member of the Education Foundation of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen.

Ng is a member of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand, CPA Australia and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in business administration from The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“As Alibaba applies to add Hong Kong as another primary listing venue, I hope my experiences in the capital market of Hong Kong and Greater China can be applied to the company’s pursuit of excellence,” said Ng.

Chee Hwa Tung, an independent director of the company, will not seek re-election after his current term ends at the company’s annual shareholder meeting later this year. Tung has served as an independent director on the board since September 2014.

“We would like to express our most sincere gratitude to Mr. Tung for his invaluable contribution and full support to Alibaba, which exemplified the highest standards of service and commitment,” said Zhang.

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