Jack Ma, the charismatic Chinese entrepreneur on Monday officially announced that he would step down as the chairman of Alibaba in 2019. Congratulating teachers on the occasion of Chinese Teachers’ day, Ma announced that he would retire after September 10, 2019, exactly 20 years after he co-founded the company.
Daniel Zhang, the incumbent CEO, will step into Ma’s shoes as chairman of the board. In a statement, Ma said that he would prepare for a smooth transition for power during these twelve months.
The Hangzhou-born entrepreneur is confident that Alibaba’s prospects will not be affected without his being at the helm. He reminded the people that in 1999, when Alibaba was founded, they wanted the company to outlive its leaders and managers.
Praising Daniel Zhang’s leadership while introducing him to the public, Ma said that under Zhang, “Alibaba has been able to sustain a healthy development for 13 consecutive quarters.” He praised Zhang’s logical ability and his dedication to the company. The outgoing chairman declared that Zhang enjoys the confidence of shareholders, employees and customers. Ma said he was fully confident that Zhang can lead the group.
In his statement, Ma also gave a peek into his post-retirement plans. The former English teacher said he would focus on philanthropic activities and concentrate on public welfare, education, support small and medium enterprises, assist young people and help in the development of women.