Economy

Alibaba CEO Zhang to succeed Jack Ma as chairman

Alibaba CEO Zhang to succeed Jack Ma as chairman”

"With the approval of our board of directors, one year from today on September 10, 2019 which also falls on Alibaba's 20th anniversary, Group CEO Daniel Zhang will succeed me as chairman of the board of Alibaba Group", Ma said in a letter on Monday. His retirement as executive chairman will coincide with his 55th birthday.

The charismatic Mr Ma, who is known for dressing like a rock star, said he wanted to return to education.

Before moving into the business world with Alibaba's founding nearly 20 years ago, Ma was an English teacher.

"The one thing I can promise everyone is this: Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba".

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Ma now has a net worth of around $40 billion.

"While remaining as executive chairman in the next 12 months, I will work closely with Daniel to ensure a smooth and successful transition", Mr Ma said in the statement.

Alibaba listed in NY in 2014 in what was then the world's biggest initial public offering of shares. "But it's his thoughtfulness and humility that is most impressive as a leader", he said. Three years later, the foundation for education pledged to donate $30m to a 10-year initiative to support teaching in rural China. He is a permanent member of the Alibaba Partnership.

In January past year, Mr Ma said he had had a "great meeting" in NY with then US President-elect, Donald Trump.

Ma said he will continue to be a member of the Alibaba Partnership and focus his new free time on philanthropy.

"This transition demonstrates that Alibaba has stepped into the next level of corporate governance from a company that relies on individuals, to one built on systems of organisational excellence and a culture of consistent talent development", Mr. Ma said in his letter.

He is retiring at a time when Chinese manufacturers and businesses are facing huge challenges from the U.S. trade war with China.

Last year, he made his acting debut with his first kung fu short film Gong Shou Dao, in which he sparred with martial arts master Jet Li. It was then backed by $60,000 from 18 co-founders.

He is not only a fan of martial arts but has been practising tai chi for more than 30 years.



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