STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Jack Ma will step down from the top job at Alibaba next year

Jack Ma, a billionaire pioneer of China's internet industry, will step down as Alibaba's executive chairman ...

Posted: Sep 10, 2018 2:35 PM
Updated: Sep 10, 2018 2:35 PM

Jack Ma, a billionaire pioneer of China's internet industry, will step down as Alibaba's executive chairman next year to make way for the company's next generation of leaders.

"No company can rely solely on its founders," Ma said in a letter Monday 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."

A former English teacher, Ma started Alibaba nearly two decades ago in his apartment and built it into a $420 billion business. The e-commerce company said CEO Daniel Zhang will succeed Ma in 12 months' time.

With a net worth of around $40 billion, Ma is one of the richest people in China. He maintains a high profile, speaking at conferences around the globe and rubbing shoulders with world leaders.

Ma, who will remain on the company's board of directors until 2020, said he has spent the last 10 years preparing for this succession plan, working to identify and develop the right talent inside Alibaba.

"Teachers always want their students to exceed them, so the responsible thing ... for me and the company to do is to let younger, more talented people take over in leadership roles," he said.

'Clark Kent' and 'Superman'

Zhang, who is 46, joined Alibaba in 2007 and held a range of senior management roles before taking over as CEO in 2015.

"Daniel is very low profile, he's quiet. He's mild mannered, he's more Clark Kent, and Jack's the Superman," said Duncan Clark, the author of "Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built."

Ma gave up the CEO role in 2013 and in recent years has found time to work on other projects, including philanthropy and performing in a kung fu movie.

He said on Monday, his 54th birthday, that he wants to return to education, adding that he is still young and has "lots of dreams to pursue."

Even after stepping away from Alibaba's senior management and board, he is expected to continue to shape the company's future through his lifetime membership of the Alibaba Partnership, a group of 36 people that can nominate a majority of the directors to the board.

"It doesn't really matter what his title is, he'll always have that founder street cred within the company and the market," Clark said.

The announcement of his departure comes at an uncertain time for Chinese tech companies. The stocks of Alibaba and other top firms have been hit by concerns about the health of China's economy and Beijing's increased scrutiny of the sector.

Amid the turmoil, the 12-month period before Ma hands over to Zhang will enable a smooth transition at Alibaba, Karen Chan, an equities analyst with Jefferies, wrote in a research note Monday.

Building a tech giant

Alibaba started out in 1999 as an online marketplace to connect Chinese businesses with one another. It has since expanded dramatically to become China's biggest tech company, helping merchants sell everything from luxury goods to fresh groceries to the country's growing number of online shoppers.

To handle the high volume of transactions, Ma set up Alipay, an online payments platform that allowed customers to pay for goods using a digital wallet. Alipay, now part of Alibaba-affiliate Ant Financial, is China's most popular digital-payment service.

Alibaba went public in 2014, raising $25 billion on Wall Street in the world's largest ever IPO.

The company has become an aggressive tech investor, pouring money into video streaming, online food delivery, dockless bike-sharing and ride-hailing start-ups in China and beyond.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 266598

Reported Deaths: 5852
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17928195
Hinds17030337
Harrison14510212
Rankin11315223
Jackson11054193
Lee9109147
Madison8663171
Jones6853120
Forrest6260125
Lauderdale6161196
Lowndes5582123
Lafayette5269101
Lamar508765
Washington4965125
Bolivar4164110
Oktibbeha411585
Panola389881
Pontotoc380460
Monroe3727111
Warren3716103
Marshall360172
Union360165
Pearl River3527106
Neshoba3516158
Leflore3132110
Lincoln308389
Hancock300963
Sunflower294277
Tate281862
Alcorn274055
Pike272984
Itawamba271263
Scott264055
Yazoo258456
Prentiss255454
Coahoma252455
Copiah251549
Tippah251551
Simpson244872
Leake238967
Marion228274
Covington224873
Grenada224673
Wayne216336
Adams216271
Winston208271
George206440
Newton201447
Attala197465
Tishomingo196361
Chickasaw190245
Jasper183138
Holmes172568
Clay168637
Tallahatchie158035
Stone153625
Clarke148762
Calhoun142022
Smith131926
Yalobusha124935
Walthall115438
Greene114929
Noxubee114526
Montgomery112936
Lawrence107917
Carroll106922
Perry105931
Amite102727
Webster98024
Claiborne90125
Tunica89621
Jefferson Davis89330
Benton86923
Humphreys85625
Kemper81220
Quitman7169
Franklin71017
Choctaw64013
Wilkinson60125
Jefferson57321
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1616
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 445909

Reported Deaths: 6896
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson651891049
Mobile32138590
Madison28596223
Tuscaloosa21703276
Montgomery20220336
Shelby19584138
Baldwin17496216
Lee13378109
Morgan12741145
Etowah12196189
Calhoun11626228
Marshall10513126
Houston9097168
Limestone842481
Cullman8363125
Elmore8283112
Lauderdale7986112
DeKalb7935112
St. Clair7915139
Talladega6552112
Walker6068184
Jackson605649
Colbert560194
Blount551794
Autauga544065
Coffee470569
Dale415186
Franklin378150
Russell362816
Chilton348079
Covington344681
Escambia342244
Tallapoosa3184109
Dallas314197
Chambers308575
Clarke307339
Pike267735
Lawrence256958
Marion255763
Winston235243
Bibb224751
Geneva214747
Marengo212031
Pickens201831
Barbour188240
Hale187444
Fayette181230
Butler175960
Cherokee167433
Henry161325
Monroe153521
Randolph148236
Washington144027
Clay131050
Crenshaw126245
Macon124337
Cleburne123627
Lamar121324
Lowndes117636
Wilcox109422
Bullock105829
Perry100518
Conecuh98222
Sumter90828
Greene78323
Coosa64619
Choctaw52224
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 43°
Columbus
Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 50°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 37°
Starkville
Mostly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 45°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather