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DiDi’s $3 Bln Options Payday: Who Might Have Gained?

The more than 20% wipeout in DiDi Global shares at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday following word of a China cybersecurity probe only two days after its U.S. trading debut has brought heated criticism and class-action lawsuits. Controversy has also erupted from more detailed coverage of a June 28 announcement by the ride-sharing service that “certain directors and executive officers” were granted options at a “nominal exercise price per share” that will create share-based compensation expenses of $3 billion at the money-losing company.  The U.S. SEC filing didn’t say which directors or executive officials were on the receiving end.  

Here below is a list of DiDi’s board members and executive directors, based on the company prospectus and bios filed to the SEC. Ties to Goldman and Alibaba stand out, as well as the billionaire standing of at least three board members.             

Will Cheng: Cheng has been DiDi’s founder and chairman since January 2013, as well as CEO since Feb. 2015. Cheng worked at Alibaba from 2005 to 2011, most recently as vice president of Alipay, and before that, in a number of sales-related positions, including as regional manager. Forbes estimates Cheng held more than $3 billion of DiDi shares as of yesterday.

Jean Liu: A co-founder and DiDi’s president since Dec. 2014, Liu is the daughter of China tech pioneer Liu Chuanzhi. “She champions a more collaborative approach for the new tech sector to work with policymakers, public transport bodies and the automotive industry to address the world’s mobility, environmental and employment challenges,” the company’s prospectus says. Previously, Liu was a managing director in the “Principal Investment Area” in Goldman Sachs in Beijing, primarily responsible for private equity investment, portfolio management, and investor relationships in China, the prospectus says.  Liu is also a board member of fashion heavyweight Kering.

Stephen Zhu: Zhu has been a director since June 2016 and senior vice president since Jan. 2019 responsible for strategy, capital markets and international business. Before joining DiDi in 2014, Zhu was executive director in the “Principal Investment Area” of Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong, the prospectus says. He has also worked at Bain Capital, Morgan Stanley and the Boston Consulting Group.

Martin Lau: A director since 2015, Lau is president of China Internet heavyweight Tencent Holdings and holds a fortune with $3.4 billion on the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List today. Before joining Tencent, Mr. Lau was an executive director at Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C.’s investment banking division and the chief operating officer of its telecom, media and technology group. Lau’s also a director at China tech

leaders such as Kingsoft,  Meituan, Vipshop, Tencent Music Entertainment Group and JD.com. 

Adrian Perica: A director since June 2016 and an independent director since June 29, 2021, Perica is Apple’s vice president of corporate development, reporting to CEO Tim Cook.  Earlier, Perica also worked at Goldman Sachs and Deloitte Consulting.

Daniel Zhang:  A DiDi director since April 2018, Zhang has been chairman of Alibaba Group since Sept. 2019 and its CEO since May 2015. 

Wang Gaofei: Wang been an independent director since June 29, the day before DiDi’s U.S. listing. He’s been CEO of Weibo and previously worked at Sina, both influential China media businesses. 

Wang Yusuo:  Wang chairs ENN, a China energy conglomerate, and has a fortune worth $8.6 billion on the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List today that he shares with family. Wang joined as an independent director since June 29, a day before DiDi’s listing.

Bob Zhang: Zhang is co-founder and chief technology officer. Before joining DiDi, Zhang was a senior technology leader at Baidu.

Alan Zhuo: Zhuo has been CFO since April 2021 and held other posts at DiDi earlier. Before joining DiDi, Zhuo worked at Sculptor Capital Management, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley.

Rui Wu: Wu is a co-founder and has served as vice president since September 2015 with responsibility for our risk control and compliance functions. Prior to 2012, Wu worked at Alibaba in sales management.

Jinglei Hou: Hou has been chief mobility safety officer since April 2019.  

Min Li: Li is vice president of public communications.

Shu Sun: Sun has been CEO of DiDi’s China ride-hailing business since Dec. 2020. Before joining DiDi, Sun was an associate at Tsing Capital from 2014 to 2015 and a senior associate at Bloomberg New Energy Finance from 2009 to 2014.

David Xu: Xu has been the vice president and head of capital markets since March 2018. Previously, he worked for Apax Partners, UBS Investment Bank and Goldman Sachs Asia.  

@rflannerychina

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