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Jack Ma to step down as Alibaba's executive chairman next year

Jack Ma Photo: Sohu

Jack Ma, the co-founder and executive chairman of China’s largest e-commerce platform Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., will step down from his position on September 10, 2019, the company announced on Monday.

“No company can rely solely on its founders. Of all people, I should know that,” Ma said in a letter to customers, employees and shareholders. “Because of physical limits on one’s ability and energy, no one can shoulder the responsibilities of chairman and CEO forever.”

Ma, a former English teacher, founded Alibaba in 1999 and built it into a $420 billion e-commerce empire.

He said in the letter that he spent the last decade preparing a succession plan and working to identify and develop the right talent inside Alibaba, adding that he and the company should let younger and more talented people assume leadership roles

Ma will focus on education and philanthropy, according to his letter.

“I still have lots of dreams to pursue. I also want to return to education, which excites me … because this is what I love to do.”

Alibaba’s current CEO Daniel Zhang will replace Ma in one year’s time.

Zhang joined the company in 2007 and held a number senior management roles before taking over from Ma as CEO in 2015.

The announcement was made on Ma’s 54th birthday, which falls on China’s Teacher’s Day.

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