Alibaba chairman Jack Ma has stepped down from the e-commerce giant on Tuesday, marking the end of an era for the firm. The 55-year-old is expected to focus on philanthropy and education after stepping down.
The role over has been handed to the company’s current CEO, Daniel Zhang. This transition was announced a year ago.
Ma will continue to serve on Alibaba’s board until its annual general shareholders’ meeting next year. He will also remain a lifetime partner of Alibaba Partnership, a group drawn from the senior management ranks of Alibaba Group companies and affiliates that have the right to nominate (and in some situations, appoint) up to a simple majority of its board.
It was last year when Jack Ma made the announcement that he plans for his departure from Alibaba Group to 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”.
Ma is a former English teacher who is still nicknamed “Teacher Ma” and has said that he plans to devote time to education philanthropy. Interestingly, the day Ma has chosen for his retirement as chairman falls on that is Teachers’ Day in China.
Ma co-founded Alibaba in 1999 and it has become one of the world’s biggest internet firms. According to Forbes, the company is now valued at $480bn (£389bn) and Mr. Ma is China’s richest man, with a net worth of $38.6bn.