Ma cofounded Alibaba in 1999 and, in the process of building up the company, became one of China’s richest men, worth an estimated $40 billion. Under Ma’s tenure, Alibaba became the country’s largest e-commerce marketplace and has expanded into other areas like mobile payments and cloud computing. Ma, who is 54, will dedicate most of his time and wealth after his retirement to philanthropy and education through the Jack Ma Foundation, reports the South China Morning Post.
Current Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang will step into Ma’s role in a year when he retires. “Starting the process of passing the Alibaba torch to Daniel and his team is the right decision at the right time, because I know from working with them that they are ready, and I have complete confidence in our next generation of leaders,” Ma wrote in a letter to shareholders. Ma will give up his role as chairman on September 10, 2019, and then complete his current term on Alibaba’s board of directors until the company’s annual general meeting in 2020.
Though Ma is retiring from those roles, he’ll still stay a lifetime member of the Alibaba Partnership, a group of 36 Alibaba partners who are senor members. The Alibaba Partnership has the right to nominate a majority of the directors to the board of the company, thus influencing its direction in the future.