Alibaba founder Jack Ma to step down as chairman in September 2019

Mae Love
September 10, 2018

Alibaba co-founder and chairman Jack Ma will step down as head of the e-commerce giant on September 10, 2019, the company said on Monday.

Daniel Zhang, chief executive of Alibaba Group.

Zhang, who was earlier the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Taobao, an online shopping portal owned by the Alibaba Group, was appointed the CEO of the Alibaba Group in 2015.

The company said he will pass on the reins to trusted lieutenant Daniel Zhang.

Ma, who co-founded Alibaba in 1999, is one of China's richest people with a net worth of $36.6 billion, according to Forbes.

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Mr. Ma said he will remain Alibaba's executive chairman during the year-long period to ensure a "smooth and successful" transition, and stay on as an Alibaba director until a shareholder' meeting in 2020.

He is also known for his eccentric personality and has donned wigs and costumes to perform highly choreographed pop routines at company events.

Ma said he will continue to be a member of the Alibaba Partnership and focus his new free time on philanthropy. Mr Ma has lately taken on educational initiatives as a pet project. He has also established a scholarship programme in Australia. "Those who know me know that I do not like to sit idle", he said.

The businessman described the move as a step up to the "next level of corporate governance", and transition from a company that fully relies on individuals to "one built on systems of organizational excellence and a culture of talent development".

Alibaba also has investments in sports content, microchips and facial recognition technology and has been positioning itself as a serious player in cloud computing.

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