Alibaba Group announced its cloud unit head Daniel Zhang resigned on the same day he was due to be replaced as the parent organisation’s chair and CEO, a move most reported was unexpected.

In a statement, the e-commerce giant noted head of Taobao and Tmall Group Eddie Wu took over as acting chair and CEO of its Cloud Intelligence Group yesterday (10 September), the day he was scheduled to replace Zhang as group chief and board member.

Executive vice chair Joseph Tsai replaced Zhang as chair of Alibaba.

Zhang worked for the company for more than 16 years, becoming CEO in 2015 and chair in 2019.

The company split the group into six independent divisions in March.

Alibaba was caught up in a government crackdown starting in 2020 when regulators suspended a planned dual listing by financial arm Ant Group, which was later ordered to restructure into a financial holding company.