CEO Today Top 50 – Daniel Zhang

CEO Profile

Name: Daniel Zhang

Company: Alibaba

Bio: Daniel Zhang has served as CEO of Alibaba Group since 2015. In September 2019, he will take on the additional role of Executive Chairman, succeeding Jack Ma. He first joined the company as CFO of Taobao in 2007 and has also served as President of Tmall and COO of Alibaba Group.

Well known as a visionary strategist and operator, Zhang conceived the first ever 11.11 Global Shopping Festival in 2009. The event has since grown into the world’s largest annual shopping event and a brand-building phenomenon that has transformed the retail experience by integrating shopping, media and entertainment. More than 180,000 brands participated in this year’s festival, which generated more than $30 billion in gross merchandise volume in 24 hours. Here is a video that captures the 10-year evolution:

Guided by a leadership philosophy that prioritizes long-term, big-picture thinking as well as decisiveness and innovation, Zhang has led Alibaba to a number of milestone achievements since becoming CEO. The company has transitioned to a mobile-first business and introduced the world to “New Retail” since he took the helm. Zhang is the visionary behind Alibaba’s New Retail strategy which is redefining the future of commerce by enabling the seamless integration of online and offline shopping through technology, transforming every sector – from grocery, convenience and department stores to the auto, fashion and CPG sectors. Here is a summary video of New Retail which Daniel is driving.

Zhang serves on Alibaba Group’s board of directors and is Chairman of Cainiao Network as well as a founding member of the Alibaba Partnership and a member of Ant Financial’s investment committee. He is Chairman of Sun Art and a member of the Board of Directors of Weibo. Zhang previously served as CFO of Shanda Interactive and as a Senior Manager at PriceWaterhouseCoopers. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

CEO Fact: When first joining the company, Alibaba Employees pick nicknames for themselves, sometimes taking on the name of fictional characters. Daniel Zhang’s nickname is “Free and Unfettered Person” (逍遥子, or Xiāoyáo Zi.)

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