With all the speculations regarding Alibaba’s Jack Ma’s expected retirement, the company announced today that its CEO, Daniel Zhang, will succeed Ma as chairman next year, exactly one year after on Sept 10, 2019.
After resigning from the role of chairman next year, Ma will continue serving as a board member until its annual general shareholders’ meeting in 2020. Even after that, Ma will remain a lifetime partner of the Alibaba Partnership, or a group of 36 partners drawn from the senior management ranks of Alibaba Group companies and affiliates.
“Under his stewardship, Alibaba has seen consistent and sustainable growth for 13 consecutive quarters… Starting the process of passing the Alibaba torch to Daniel and his team is the right decision at the right time,” Ma said in a letter released by the company. Zhang will also retain the CEO title, the company said.
Jack Ma founded Alibaba in 1999. He is one of China’s richest people with a net worth of $36.6 billion, according to Forbes. The company has grown to have more than 66,000 full-time employees and a market value of some $420 billion.
It was in 2013 that Ma stepped down from the role of CEO, and handed over the position to Jonathan Lu. Lu was replaced in 2015 by Zhang, Alibaba’s former COO, after Ma reportedly told employees that it’s time for the company to be run by people born in the 1970s and after.
“I also want to offer special thanks to all Alibaba colleagues and your families, because your trust, support and our joint enterprise over the past 19 years have prepared us for this day with confidence and strength,” Ma stated.
And therefore, Jack Ma who planned to retire today has shifted his retirement to next year on the same day.