EXCLUSIVE Didi co-founder Liu told associates she plans to leave – sources

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President of Didi Chuxing Jean Liu speaks throughout a information convention about their Japanese taxi-hailing three way partnership in Tokyo, Japan, July 19, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI, Sept 20 (Reuters) – Didi World Inc co-founder and President Jean Liu has instructed some shut associates that she intends to step down, two sources accustomed to the matter stated, because the Chinese language ride-hailing large faces intense regulatory scrutiny following its New York itemizing earlier this yr.

Liu, 43, has in current weeks instructed some associates that she anticipated the federal government to finally take management of Didi and appoint new administration, stated the 2 sources.

Liu, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc banker, instructed a few executives near her in current weeks – together with those that had adopted her to hitch Didi from the Wall Road financial institution – that she deliberate to go away and inspired them to start out in search of new alternatives as nicely, stated one of many sources who was briefed on the matter.

A few of these executives have since approached trade contacts for job leads, the supply stated.

Reuters was unable to be taught additional particulars, together with whether or not Liu had submitted a proper resignation letter or set a date to go away.

Didi stated it’s “actively and absolutely cooperating with the cybersecurity overview. Reuters’ rumors about administration modifications are unfaithful and unsubstantiated.”

Liu didn’t reply to Reuters request for remark despatched through the corporate spokespersons.

Didi’s shares had been just lately down almost 5% in U.S. buying and selling on Monday. The benchmark S&P 500 index was just lately off round 1.7% in a broader selloff fueled by worries over closely indebted Chinese language property firm Evergrande.

Didi, generally dubbed the Uber of China, has come underneath intense scrutiny since early July by Chinese language authorities over its assortment and use of private information of customers of its service, pricing mechanisms and aggressive practices.

Officers have launched a broad crackdown on non-public corporations, together with these within the tech sector, to regulate massive information and break down monopolistic practices.

Billionaires minted by high-profile listings, corresponding to Didi’s $4.4 billion debut, have fallen out of favor as President Xi Jinping warns towards the nation’s huge revenue inequality.

Didi ran afoul of the highly effective Our on-line world Administration of China (CAC) when it pressed forward with its debut on June 30, regardless of the regulator urging the corporate to place it on maintain whereas it carried out a cybersecurity overview of its information practices, in accordance with individuals with information of the matter.

Quickly after the itemizing, the CAC introduced an investigation into Didi and subsequently ordered the removing of its apps for obtain in China. Officers from a minimum of six different departments additionally bought concerned.

Reuters couldn’t be taught whether or not regulators had requested for Liu’s departure and what would occur to different executives, corresponding to Didi Chairman and CEO Will Cheng.

One of many sources accustomed to Liu’s plans stated the Harvard alumni and daughter of Lenovo Group founder Liu Chuanzhi had additionally talked about leaving Didi within the years earlier than the present regulatory disaster to strive her hand at one thing new.

CAC didn’t reply to Reuters request for remark, whereas Didi didn’t reply to particular questions.

Liu joined Didi in 2014. She holds a 1.6% stake, price round $640 million at present, within the firm and controls 23% of the vote, due to a dual-class share construction, in accordance with the corporate’s prospectus.

She has been deeply concerned within the firm’s key company monetary choices, together with its merger with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd -backed Kuaidi in 2015, takeover of Uber Applied sciences Inc’s China enterprise and fundraising from buyers together with Apple Inc .

Liu additionally oversees Didi’s different company issues together with human assets and represents the corporate in exterior communications particularly throughout crises.

Reporting by Julie Zhu in Hong Kong and Zhang Yan in Shanghai; Enhancing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Edward Tobin


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