On Saturday, Chinese tech giant Alibaba’s financial affiliate Ant Financial announced that its current president Eric Jing will replace Lucy Peng as the company CEO since next Sunday.
“The continuous supply of talent has enabled us to give the young a place on the stage, and also an opportunity to shoulder greater responsibilities and challenges,” wrote Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba, in a letter to his staff.
Ma stated in his letter that Jing had brought many pleasant surprises during his ten years in Alibaba. Ma expressed his hopes that Jing can carry forward Alibaba’s early dreams in Alipay, the entity which eventually gave birth to Ant Financial. At the same time, Ma disclosed that he will work closely with Peng on shaping corporate culture and nourishing younger staff.
Currently, all presidents of Alibaba’s front-line businesses were born in the 1970s. The average age of the Ant Financial staff is about 31 years, according to 36Kr.
Born in 1972, Jing said in a statement posted by Ant Financial’s Weibo that he appreciated Ma and Peng’s trust. He stated his confidence in his ability to fulfill his responsibilities in helping his young team grow.
“Thank Lucy for building the ‘soul’ of Ant Financial,” Jing said in the statement.
“Lucy has built in Ant Financial a good culture and a valuable foundation: a great mission-driven team and a future-oriented basis for global business. I’m confident that we can carry them forward. A small ant can carry big dreams!”
Peng has been the president and CEO of Ant Financial since the company’s foundation in October 2014. She will remain the company president and focus on the company’s long-term development, global strategies, and talent training.
“I was once a teacher. So I’m more than happy to see successors exceed their predecessor. The big stage will always need younger generations,” said Peng in her statement.
Ant Financial dates back to Alibaba’s online payment system, Alipay. Ant Financial mainly provides financial services to both small & micro businesses, as well as to individual consumers. Alipay is the company’s major product now, and Alipay has over 450 million real-name registered users at present, according to 36Kr.
Ant Financial is rumored to be going public in Hong Kong in the first half of 2017. The company landed USD 4.5 billion in Series B financing in April, reportedly the largest single round of financing in IT industry history, raising its valuation to USD 60 billion.
If the company were to go public, it would likely be one of the largest IPOs ever in China.
(Top photo from Ant Financial’s Weibo. Lucy Peng (left) and Eric Jing.)