Alibaba has demoted its ecommerce chief Jiang Fan, once regarded as a favourite to become chief executive, following reports of “improper behaviour”.
Jiang, a former Google software engineer, has been demoted from senior vice president to vice president, while having a year’s worth of financial incentives taken away, according to Bloomberg.
He has also been removed from a “partnership” of 38 executives who influence the make-up of Alibaba’s board.
These disciplinary measures come after Jiang’s wife warned a prominent social media influencer on Weibo, China’s answer to Facebook, not to “mess with” her husband.
While an internal investigation found that there were no transfer of interests between Alibaba and the influencer’s personal business, speculation around the prominent executive’s relationship spread across social media.
Though there has been no substantiated proof of a relationship the negative press surrounding Jiang was enough to force Alibaba’s hand.
Jiang reportedly apologised to staff internally and encouraged an investigation into the claims himself.
Last April Jiang set the lofty goal of doubling the transaction volumes of Alibaba’s Tmall platform within three years, and was credited with helping the company achieve record Singles’ Day sales of $38 billion.