In an email sent to his stakeholders, technology conglomerate Alibaba co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma revealed who his successor will be. The visionary magnate announced his retirement just last week.
Ma's statement, shared by Alibaba's news outlet Alizila, revealed many details about the executive's succession plan. It also confirmed his successor.
“I’m very proud that Alibaba now has the structure, corporate culture, governance and system for grooming talent that allows me to step away without causing disruption.”
"Today, as we mark the 19th anniversary of Alibaba, I am excited to share some news with you: with the approval of our board of directors, one year from today on September 10, 2019 which also falls on Alibaba’s 20th anniversary, Group CEO Daniel Zhang will succeed me as chairman of the board of Alibaba Group," read the letter.
The business genius, considered one of China’s wealthiest men with a net worth of US$40 billion, had already stated he would be sharing a succession plan within a week. He had also explained why he felt this was the right time to move on.
“I sat down with our senior executives 10 years ago, and asked what Alibaba would do without me,” Ma had said in an interview with the Alibaba-owned South China Morning Post. “I’m very proud that Alibaba now has the structure, corporate culture, governance and system for grooming talent that allows me to step away without causing disruption.”
The executive known for his philanthropic spirit and initiatives repeated that sentiment in his letter. "This transition demonstrates that Alibaba has stepped up to the next level of corporate governance from a company that relies on individuals, to one built on systems of organizational excellence and a culture of talent development," Ma wrote.
He also revealed that he would continue in his role as executive chairman for 12 months during which he would train Zhang to take over. Ma will also serve on the Alibaba board of directors until the firm's annual shareholders meeting in 2020.
Ma further outlined his reasons for choosing Zhang. "Daniel has been with Alibaba Group for 11 years. Since he took over as CEO, he has demonstrated his superb talent, business acumen and determined leadership," wrote the Alibaba pioneer.
Showing the same graceful and magnanimous nature he has become popular for, Ma said that as a teacher he wished for his successors to exceed him. "The responsible thing to do for me and the company to do is to let younger, more talented people take over in leadership roles so that they inherit our mission," wrote the magnate, expressing a sense of generosity uncommon in today's hyper-competitive societies.
The co-founder of the e-commerce giant humbly finished his letter by expressing that he would always be a part of his much-beloved firm. "The one thing I can promise everyone is this: Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba," concluded Ma.
Ma will continue his role as founding partner of the Alibaba Partnership and return to education. We wish the chairman the best of luck and can only hope he will teach future generations the inspirational ethos that has made him, not only a success, but a genuinely good human being.