It seems that the co-CEO structure will ultimately dissolve here in China, as we see Zhang Tao, former CEO of Dianping, Wang Wei, former CEO of Tudou, and Lv Chuanwei, former CEO of Kuaidi Dache, all gave up sharing the leadership as co-CEOs and simply left the merged companies.
It amazed everyone when 58.com and Ganji.com, two of the largest classified sites in China, announced that they would together form a new company and advance strategic cooperation earlier this year. Yao Jinbo, former CEO of 58.com, and Yang Haoyong, former CEO of Ganji.com, would share leadership as co-Chairman of the new company. However, on November 25th, 2015, Yang Haoyong announced that he had resigned from his position as the co-CEO of 58.com, effective immediately and would serve as Chairman and CEO of Guazi, which was Ganji.com's consumer-to-consumer (C2C) used car trading platform previously.
Founded near the end of 2014, Guazi was developed by Ganji.com itself as it began to see the need to reform traditional information matchmaking. To build credibility and increase buyer confidence, Guazi directly linked individual car sellers and buyers and further expanded its service scope than traditional used car-dealers. For example, it would help certify and evaluate the used car, and provide other after-sales services, including vehicle financing and auto insurance. During the launch event of Guazi.com, Yang Haoyong suggested that “There are still more segment sectors on Ganji.com and one could always developed a separate O2O platform out there.”
In the middle of this year, just a few months after 58.com and Ganji.com merged, Ganji.com renamed its used car trading platform as Guazi. This time, however, 58.com has entered into a definitive agreement to “spin off” one of 58%&Ganji’s subsidiaries Guazi.com and divest a controlling ownership stake in Guazi to Yang Haoyong, in exchange for a cash injection of 60 million USD from Mr. Yang into Guazi.com. Following the injection, 58.com will retain an estimated 46% stake in Guazi, while Mr. Yang, the founder, former Chairman and CEO of Ganji.com, will serve as Chairman and CEO of Guazi and take up over 50% stake of the company along with his management board.
A week ago, 58&Ganji spun off another subsidiary part-time job information platform Doumi, whose spokesperson announced that it had received an investment of 40 million USD from Banyan Capital and that Zhao Shiyong, a former senior manager of Ganji.com, would head the new company during its launch event. Yang Haoyong even made fun of Guazi(which means sunflower seeds in Chinese) and Doumi(which means competing with “mi” in Chinese, literally), saying that many people had asked him if Guazi.com can be “eaten” and Doumi was founded to compete with Xiaomi, a popular Chinese smartphone brand.
Anyhow, the co-CEO structure in 58&Ganji finally dissolved, as in many other cases.
The following is a list of co-CEOs who stepped down at last in recent years:
In August, 2012, merely five months after Youku and Tudou, two of the largest video sites in China, merged, Wang Wei, the founder and CEO of Tudou, left the merged company and established Light Chaser Animation, a CG animation film studio.
When Didi and Kuaidi, two of the largest car-hailing platform in China, merged this February, Lv Chuanwei, the founder and CEO of Kuaidi, disappeared from the public eye. Rumor has it that he left the merged company in exchange for a compensation of 600 million USD.
Just a month after Meituan.com and Dianping.com, two of the largest group-buying sites in China, merged this October, Wang Xing, the co-CEO of Meituan&Dianping, admitted in an internal email that Zhang Tao, co-CEO of Meituan&Dianping and former CEO of Dianping.com, had resigned from his position as co-CEO, but would continue to serve as co-Chairman. A photo showing Mr. Zhang shed tears was well-circulated on the Chinese Internet. What a shame, isn’t it?
When Ctrip and Qunar, two of the three largest online travelling service providers, officially announced that they had entered into an agreement to merge together on October 26th, 2015, Zhuang Chenchao, former CEO of Qunar, has actually given up his stake in the new merged company.
Yang Haoyong and Yao Jinbo
In the afternoon of November 25th, 2015, Yang Haoyong, co-CEO of 58&Ganji, officially announced that he had resigned from the position as co-CEO and moved to serve as the CEO of Guazi and manage the future development of Guazi.
[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @Guo Juan, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at ECHO), working for TMTpost.