Jack MA stepped down as Alibaba chairman on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 ending his 20-year run that saw China’s economy scale to great heights.
As Ma steps down, he hands over his role to a team of executives led by the company’s current CEO Daniel Zhang.
Before becoming Alibaba’s chairman in 2013, Ma had been the company’s CEO until he was succeeded by Jonathan Lu, who was in turn succeeded by Zhang in 2015.
Zhang takes over the chairmanship role even as China’s e-commerce market is on a slowdown as Alibaba faces domestic competition.
Ma is expected to continue serving on Alibaba’s board until its annual general shareholders’ meeting next year and remain a lifetime partner of Alibaba.
The former charismatic English teacher is said to intend to put his 41 billion dollar fortune towards philanthropic projects such as education.
Ma’s departure had been a transition that was announced a year ago, during a meeting, that his departure would be “very gradual”.
“The one thing I can promise everyone is this: Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba,” he said.
His departure marks a new era for the e-commerce company that helped shape up Chinese internet’s central role.
Ma launched various internet related business projects in China that met mixed success before convincing a group of Chinese and foreign friends to give him 60,000 dollars to start a business-to-business e-commerce venture called Alibaba in 1999.
Over time, Alibaba is considered to be among the worlds top, most valuable companies worth 462 billion dollars according to Bloomberg data.
The former English teacher, whose nickname ‘Teacher Ma’ has stuck to date, interestingly, not only chose to retire on his birthdate (he turns 55), but also on a China’s Teachers’ Day, and when Alibaba hold its 20th anniversary party.