Alibaba’s Ma announces date for stepping down as executive chairman

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/9/10 11:23:39

Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma Yun announced on Monday that he will be stepping down from his chief role at one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world to focus on teaching.

In an open letter on Monday, Ma, who started as an English teacher and then became one of the most powerful voices in the e-commerce world, said that Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang Yong will become the new executive chairman in September 2019, as part of a succession plan for maintaining sustainable growth at Alibaba.

"This transition demonstrates that Alibaba has stepped up to the next level of corporate governance from a company that relies on individuals, to one built on systems of organizational excellence and a culture of talent development," the Chinese billionaire wrote, adding that the plan has been in the making for ten years. "No company can rely solely on its founders. Of all people, I should know that. Because of physical limits on one's ability and energy, no one can shoulder the responsibilities of chairman and CEO forever."

In the letter, which came on Teacher's Day in China, Ma said he would return to teaching without elaborating further. "The world is big, and I am still young, so I want to try new things - because what if new dreams can be realized?!" said Ma.

But the billionaire has assured that he is not leaving Alibaba entirely, saying he would continue to be a business partner and contribute to the company's long-term growth. "The one thing I can promise everyone is this: Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba," he wrote.

In the letter, Ma expressed his confidence in Zhang, who has been Alibaba's CEO for the past five years. "I know from working with them that they are ready, and I have complete confidence in our next generation of leaders."


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