Jack Ma officially retired as Alibaba’s chairman today, handing the reigns over to the company’s current CEO, Daniel Zhang.
The move was announced a year ago.
A gradual departure
However, his departure from the firm will be gradual, as he had previously announced. He will continue serving on Alibaba’s board until its annual general shareholders’ meeting next year and will a lifetime partner of Alibaba Partnership.
Ma has previously said that he will forever belong to Alibaba: "The one thing I can promise everyone is this: Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba."
Announced in September 2018
Ma made the announcement that he would be leaving his position back in September 2018. He did so in a statement, shared by Alibaba's news outlet Alizila.
"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.
He also revealed at the time that he would be sharing a succession plan within a week, explaining that 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.”