Jack Ma, founder and chairman of Chinese e-commerce tycoon Alibaba will leave his position as the company's chairman on Sept 10, 2019, according to an official announcement today. CEO Daniel Zhang Yong will take over as chairman, tech.sina reported.
Ma will stay as board member of Alibaba after Sept 10, 2019 until the company's annual general meeting of stockholders in 2020, the announcement said. Besides acting as partner of Alibaba, Ma will focus on public welfare and educational business, he said in an open letter to the public on Sept 10, a meaningful day — Ma's birthday, the founding day of Alibaba and also China's Teacher's Day.
After graduating from Hangzhou Normal University, Ma always saw himself a teacher. "Starting a business was only incidental. My biggest dream lies in the education," he said.
Ma has been preparing for this succession plan for 10 years. Alibaba created a partnership then to provide solutions for company creativity, leader succession and culture succession issues. This enables the company's healthy development by combining together the system, the people, and the culture, he said.
"We can only solve the problem of enterprise succession and development by setting up a system and forming a unique culture and cultivate talent as potential successors," Ma said in the open letter. "And we never ceased practicing to achieve this."
Based on this new co-partnership, Ma believes Alibaba has enough confidence and ability to handle the transfer of power, and also indicated the company has upgraded from an individual-dependent enterprise into a company with a dependable system and talent pool.
Daniel Zhang Yong, the CEO picked to replace Ma in 2019, was called "an outstanding business leader" by Ma. Zhang has proven himself by leading Alibaba to realize 13 months of consecutive, healthy and high-speed growth over the past three years, Ma said. His strategy and responsibility also prove he is the correct choice.
Jack Ma made it clear he is not retiring, and will still act as a leader and co-partner in Alibaba, and will "continue to contribute to Alibaba co-partnership", according to his open letter.
Teacher Ma will not retire either. He is still a spokesperson for country teachers, chairman of the Alibaba Poverty Relief Fund, founder of the Ma Yun Public Welfare Fund and a special consultant at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
"I want to return to the teaching business, because I will be super excited and happy to do things I love," Ma said in the letter.
"The world is so big, and I will try whatever I like as I am still young," Ma said at the end of the open letter. "Alibaba never belonged to me exclusively, but I will be a part of Alibaba forever."