Jack Ma Officially Retires as Alibaba’s Chairman at the Age of 55
Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma has officially retired from his position at the Chinese multinational firm. The company has named current CEO, Daniel Zhang as his replacement.
Ma’s planned retirement had been announced about a year ago and also falls on the same day he clocks 55. A farewell party in honour of Ma will hold on Tuesday at Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center stadium.
Speaking about his planned departure, Ma had assured the public of his lifelong commitment to Alibaba.
The one thing I can promise everyone is this: Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba.Jack Ma, Former Chairman Alibaba Group
Ma remains on Alibaba’s board of directors until its annual general shareholders’ meeting in 2020. He will also remain with Alibaba Partnership, a corporate governing group of 38 individuals that is separate from the board of directors that has the right to nominate to a simple majority of its board.
Ma’s replacement, Daniel Zhang, is an accountant by trade, a stark contrast to Ma who is recognised as a charismatic leader.
Following Zhang’s appointment as CEO in 2018, Ma complemented his successor’s logic and critical thinking. He added that Zhang had the courage to take on future innovations.
He has the logic and critical thinking skills of a supercomputer, a commitment to his vision, the courage to wholeheartedly dare to take on innovative business models and industries of the future.Jack Ma, Former Chairman Alibaba Group
According to the national statistics office, China’s online retail sales grew just 17.8% in the first half of 2019, almost halving from the 32.4% growth of 2018.
Zhang is taking on a daunting task at a time when the market for Alibaba’s core e-commerce business has slowed sharply.
Under Ma’s leadership, Alibaba grew to become Asia’s most valuable listed company, with a current market capitalisation of $460 billion. With Zhang now on the reins, he is expected to maintain the company’s growth as competition increases in the retail market.
As China’s richest man, Ma’s net worth is pegged at about $38.4 billion, according to Forbes. After retirement, Ma has said he plans to spend more time on education and philanthropy as he was a former English teacher.
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