BEIJING, May 19 (Reuters) - Didi Global Inc's co-founder Jean Liu has stepped down from her roles as president and board director of China's biggest ride-hailing firm to take on a new role, according to an internal company memo.

Didi, which is seen as China's answer to Uber but has faced prolonged regulatory scrutiny, will no longer have a position of president, it said in the memo seen by Reuters.

Liu, a former Goldman Sachs banker who has been at the helm of Didi for a decade, will take on a new role as "permanent partner" and will maintain her current duties including serving as chief people officer, Liu and CEO Will Cheng said in the internal letter sent to employees on Sunday.

"I hope that I can focus more on the company's long-term development in the future," Liu said in the letter, citing talent and corporate social responsibility as focus areas.

Liu, the daughter of Lenovo Group founder Liu Chuanzhi, was heavily involved in the company's key financial decisions, including its merger with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd -backed Kuaidi in 2015, its takeover of Uber Technologies Inc's China business, and fundraising from investors including Apple Inc. In 2021, Didi found itself in the spotlight of China's cyberspace regulator over its pursuit of a U.S. initial public offering without obtaining approval, prompting an inquiry that prohibited it from adding new users and resulted in many of Didi's apps being removed from major app stores.

The company was penalized with a $1.2 billion fine in July 2022 over data security violations. Didi began to recover from its regulatory challenges in early 2023 when it received permission to relaunch its apps. (Reporting by Liam Mo, Sarah Wu and Qiaoyi Li; Editing by Susan Fenton)