Alibaba’s Jack Ma to retire in 2019, CEO Daniel Zhang to succeed

Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Inc., will retire in one year and chief executive Daniel Zhang will succeed him as chairman, the company said Monday.

Ma, 54, will retire as chairman on Sept. 10, 2019, the 20th anniversary of Alibaba’s founding, but will remain a board member until Alibaba’s annual shareholders meeting in 2020.

«I have put a lot of thought and preparation into this succession plan for ten years,» Ma wrote in a letter to customers and employees. «While remaining as executive chairman in the next 12 months, I will work closely with Daniel to ensure a smooth and successful transition.»

«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,» he added.

Alibaba was founded in 1999 in Hangzhou in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang and has grown into one of the world’s largest e-commerce businesses.

Alibaba debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014. As of Friday, it had a market value of about $ 420 billion.

The company has close ties to Masayoshi Son, chief executive of Japanese telecommunications and investment giant SoftBank Group Corp., who sits on Alibaba’s board.

All — Kyodo News+

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