Ant Group Co. Chief Executive Officer Simon Hu resigned from the company, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, as the company overhauls its business.
Hu resigned for personal reasons, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isnt public. Eric Jing, already Ants chairman, will become CEO as well effective immediately, the person said. An Ant spokesperson confirmed Hus resignation.
Hu, who joined Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in 2005 after working at Chinas second-largest lender China Construction Bank, had built a reputation for rolling out new innovations such as using data analytics to offer collateral-free financing services to small businesses and helping Alibaba beat Amazon.com Inc. to build Asias largest cloud business.
He moved from Alibaba to Ant in November 2018 as President, and took over as CEO in December 2019.
Ant has been at the center of a regulatory crackdown as China taking aim at the push of technology firms into finance. Its $35 billion initial public offering was abruptly suspended in November. Chinas central bank subsequently directed the Hangzhou-based firm to turn itself into a financial holding company, a move that would subject it to capital restrictions, the need for fresh licenses and ownership scrutiny. The overhaul could slash the financial juggernauts valuation by about 60% from the $280 billion it was pegged at last year, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Francis Chan has estimated.
The resignation comes days after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pledged at the National Peoples Congress to expand oversight of financial technology, stamp out monopolies, and prevent the unregulated expansion of capital. All three of the nations financial watchdogs have made it their primary goal this year to curb the reckless push of technology firms into finance.
With assistance by Lulu Yilun Chen, Zheng Li, and Jun Luo
(Updates with details throughout)
Before it’s here, it’s on the Bloomberg Terminal.