Ant Group’s chief executive Simon Hu resigns, Eric Jing takes over position with dual role as CEO and chairman
- Simon Hu Xiaoming was promoted to chief executive officer of Ant Group in September 2019
- Hu joined Alipay China in 2006, working his way up the ranks and helping to establish AliFinance
Simon Hu Xiaoming, one of the key figures in Ant Group’s explosive transformation from an online payment service into the world’s largest fintech group, has resigned as chief executive officer (CEO).
Hu, 51, will step down as CEO and executive director to devote his “full efforts towards philanthropic work,” according to a letter by Ant Group’s chairman Eric Jing Xiandong to the fintech company’s staff, seen by South China Morning Post. “We have decided to respect Simon’s personal request and support him fully in his new mission.”
Ant Group’s board has accepted Hu’s resignation “due to personal reasons,” the company’s spokespeople said. “We are thankful to Simon for the efforts he made at our company.”
“Chinese fintech groups have, in some cases, grown so big that their collaborations with banks are increasing contagion risks in China’s financial system,” said Grace Wu, an analyst at Fitch Ratings, speaking in November in the aftermath of the abandoned stock sale. “We expect tighter regulations on fintech companies to continue.”
Jing joined Alibaba in 2007 from Guangzhou Pepsi Cola Beverage, where he managed the beverage company’s bottling plants across China. Jing transferred to the Ant Group affiliate in 2009 where he worked up the ranks to chief operating officer in 2014 and CEO in 2016 before his promotion to chairman in 2018. He received an MBA degree from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
Hu joined the Hangzhou-based technology group in 2005, working his way up the ranks at both Alibaba and Ant Group. He worked in risk management and managed Alibaba’s loans business for small and medium enterprises.
Before Alibaba, Hu worked for China Construction Bank and China Everbright Bank. Hu helped establish AliFinance unit in 2009 and served as its president. He was promoted to chief executive’s role of Ant Group in 2019 as the fintech giant was beginning to put its initial public offering plan in place.
If Ant Group’s IPO had gone ahead, Hu would have been a wealthy man. He was one of four executives – along with Ma, Jing and Alibaba’s deputy chief people officer Jiang Fang – who held 22 per cent of an entity that directly owned US$125.5 billion worth of Ant Group’s shares in Hong Kong and Shanghai, based on the IPO offer price, according to the company’s listing prospectus.