Didi Global Inc co-founder and president Jean Liu has told some close associates that she plans to resign, two sources familiar with the matter said as the Chinese ride-hailing giant began an intense one after its listing in New York earlier this year is subject to regulatory review.
Liu, 43, has told some workers in the past few weeks that she expects the government to eventually take control of Didi and appoint new management, the two sources said.
Liu, a former banker for Goldman Sachs Group Inc, has told several senior executives – including those who followed her to join Didi from Wall Street – over the past few weeks that she intended to leave her and encouraged her she, too, is looking for new opportunities, said one of the sources briefed on the matter.
Some of these executives have since reached out to industry contacts for job leads, the source said.
Reuters was unable to learn any further details, including whether Liu had filed a formal resignation letter or set a date to leave.
Didi said it was “working actively and fully with cybersecurity review. Reuters’ rumors of changes in management are untrue and unfounded. ”
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Liu did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment sent through company spokespersons.
Didi’s shares fell nearly 5% in US trading on Monday. The benchmark index, the S&P 500, recently lost around 1.7% in a wider sell-off fueled by worries over heavily indebted Chinese real estate company Evergrande.
Didi, sometimes also called Uber of China, has been under intense scrutiny by the Chinese authorities since the beginning of July for the collection and use of personal data of the users of its service, its pricing mechanisms and its competitive practices.
Officials have cracked down on private companies, including those in the technology sector, to control big data and break monopoly practices.
Billionaires marked by high profile lists, like Didi’s $ 4.4 billion debut, have fallen from grace as President Xi Jinping warns of the country’s vast income inequality.
Didi came into conflict with the powerful Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) when they made their debut on 30 Knowledge of the matter.
Shortly after the listing, the CAC announced an investigation against Didi and then ordered the removal of his downloadable apps in China. Officials from at least six other departments also participated.
Reuters couldn’t find out if regulators had demanded Liu’s departure and what would happen to other executives like Didi Chairman and CEO Will Cheng.
A source familiar with Liu’s plans said Harvard alumni and daughter of Lenovo Group’s founder Liu Chuanzhi also talked about leaving Didi to try something new in the years leading up to the current regulatory crisis.
CAC did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment, while Didi did not respond to specific questions.
Liu joined Didi in 2014. It has a 1.6% stake in the company, currently valued at around $ 640 million, and controls 23% of the votes, according to the company’s prospectus, thanks to a two-class share structure.
She was instrumental in the company’s key financial decisions, including its merger with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd-backed Kuaidi in 2015, the acquisition of Uber Technologies Inc’s China business, and fundraising from investors such as Apple Inc.
Liu also oversees Didi’s other corporate affairs, including the human resources department, and represents the company in external communications, especially in times of crisis.