The Chairman and founder of the Alibaba Group Jack Ma has announced that he will take early retirement to concentrate on philanthropy. In his place, Ma announced that Daniel Zhang will take over when he retires in a year’s time at the age of 55.
Zhang will double up as the chairman and CEO during his tenure.
Zhang, 46, also known as Zhang Yongis the CEO of Alibaba Group. Before becoming the CEO, Zhang was best known for his roles as CEO of Taobao and president of Tmall.com (owned by Alibaba). While running Tmall, Zhang created the Singles’ Day shopping holiday, an annual Chinese sales event with gross sales three times higher than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Ma will give up the chairman role in exactly one year on September 10, 2019 and complete his current term on Alibaba’s board following the company’s annual general meeting in 2020, the company said. He relinquished the role of chief executive in 2013.
“Under his stewardship, Alibaba has seen consistent and sustainable growth for 13 consecutive quarters… Starting the process of passing the Alibaba torch to Daniel and his team is the right decision at the right time,” Ma said in a letter released by the company.
Undef the leadership of Ma, Alibaba has grown to have more than 66,000 full-time employees and a market value of Ksh42 trillion ($420 billion).
Ma is one of the richest people in China and on the planet, with a net worth of $36.6 billion (Ksh3.66 trillion) according to Forbes.
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