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Didi co-founder Liu told associates she plans to leave- sources By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO. Jean Liu, President of Didi Chuxing, speaks at a press conference in Tokyo about the joint venture for taxi-hailing services. This was July 19, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Didi Global Inc co-founder and President Jean Liu has told some close associates that she intends to step down, two sources familiar with the matter said, as the Chinese ride-hailing giant faces intense regulatory scrutiny following its New York listing earlier this year.

Liu, 43, has in recent weeks told some associates that she expected the government to eventually take control of Didi and appoint new management, said the two sources.

Liu, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:) banker, told a couple of executives close to her in recent weeks – including those who had followed her to join Didi from the Wall Street bank – that she planned to leave and encouraged them to start looking for new opportunities as well, said one of the sources who was briefed on the matter.

According to a source, some of these executives had contacted industry contacts in the past for leads.

Reuters could not confirm whether Liu had written a formal resignation or set a departure date.

Didi claimed that the company is actively and fully cooperating in cybersecurity reviews. Rumours by Reuters about managerial changes being made are untrued and unsubstantiated.

Reuters reached Liu for comments but he did not reply to the request.

Didi is sometimes called the Uber of China. Chinese authorities have been closely monitoring Didi since July 1st. They are concerned about its use of personal information of customers, pricing and other competitive practices.

In an effort to curb monopolistic behavior and control big data, Chinese officials launched a massive crackdown on tech-related private businesses.

As President Xi Jinping warned against China’s huge income inequality, billionaires made by prominent listings like Didi’s $4.4billion debut have been relegated to the sidelines.

Didi ran afoul of the powerful Cyberspace Administration of China () when it pressed ahead with its debut on June 30, despite the regulator urging the company to put it on hold while it conducted a cybersecurity review of its data practices, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Shortly after Didi was listed, the CAC began an investigation and then ordered Didi’s applications to be deleted from China. At least six officials from other departments were also involved.

Reuters was not able to determine whether Liu had been asked by regulators for her departure or what the consequences would be for other executive, including Didi Chairman Will Cheng.

According to one source familiar with Liu’s plans, the Harvard alumna and daughter of Lenovo Group founder Liu Chuanzhi also discussed leaving Didi before the current regulatory crisis.

Didi declined to answer specific questions. CAC didn’t reply to Reuters’s request for comment.

Liu joined Didi on 14th of April 2014. According to Didi’s prospectus, she holds 1.6% of the company, which is worth approximately $640 million. She also controls 23%. This is due to her dual-class shares.

She has been deeply involved in the company’s key corporate financial decisions, including its merger with Alibaba (NYSE:) Group Holding Ltd-backed Kuaidi in 2015, takeover of Uber Technologies (NYSE:) Inc’s China business and fundraising from investors including Apple Inc (NASDAQ:).

Liu is also responsible for Didi’s corporate affairs, including Human Resources. She represents Didi in communications with the outside world during crisis situations.