Jack Ma steps down today from being chairman of Alibaba, and Daniel Zhang succeeds him. Though Jack Ma will stay on the board until his term expires in 2020.
Jack Ma marks his 55th birthday on today, 10 September by stepping down from his role as chairman of Alibaba, the multinational company he co-founded from his apartment in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, East China.
“…I still have lots of dreams to pursue. Those who know me know that I do not like to sit idle,” Ma wrote in an open letter announcing the move last year, “The world is big, and I am still young, so I want to try new things— because what if new dreams can be realized?!”
Zhang, now 47 years old, joined Alibaba in 2007 and was appointed CEO in 2015. He is credited with grooming Alibaba’s Tmall business and establishing the Singles’ Day shopping festival. He is also the architect of the new retail business initiative first brought up by Alibaba.
Prior to joining Alibaba, Zhang was the chief financial officer of Shanda Interactive, which was a force in China’s gaming industry before slipping behind rivals like Tencent and Netease over the past decade. Zhang graduated from a top Chinese university in Shanghai and is a former senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Alibaba announced the succession plan on September 10 last year and said Jack Ma was a ‘lifetime partner’ in the Alibaba Partnership and also a member of the partnership committee, according to global newswires. The partnership is made up of 36 individuals and has the right to nominate a majority of the company’s director.