Jack Ma to Leave Alibaba

Alibaba has today announced that one year from today, chief executive officer Daniel Zhang, will succeed Jack Ma as Chairman of the board of Alibaba Group. Mr. Ma will continue as executive chairman over the next 12 months to ensure a smooth transition of the chairmanship to Mr. Zhang.

In a letter issued to shareholders, customers and employees, Mr. Ma explained his decision, stating that he has made the tough decision to leave the company on its 20th anniversary, September 10, 2019.

Mr. Ma wrote, “I have put a lot of thought and preparation into this succession plan for ten years. I am delighted to announce the plan today thanks to the support of the Alibaba Partnership and our board of directors.”

Ma also highlighted the importance of Alibaba’s sustainability beyond its founders and how his goal, when starting the company 19 years ago, was to build a company that could make China and the world proud, and one that would last centuries. “This transition demonstrates that Alibaba has stepped up to the next level of corporate governance from a company that relies on individuals, to one build on systems of organisational excellence and a culture of talent development.” Ma went on to explain.

Ma was quick to acknowledge that the success of Alibaba was because of  collaboration and teamwork, not because it has been shouldered by one man. Having originally trained as a teacher, Ma explained that this passing of the baton could not have made him prouder. “Teachers also want their students to exceed them, so the responsible thing to do for me and the company is to let younger, more talented people take over in leadership roles.”

Ma will remain on the Alibaba board of directors until the annual shareholders meeting in 2020.

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