Alibaba's Jack Ma to step down in September 2019

Kenny Grant
September 10, 2018

Jack Ma, the longtime head of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, on Sunday announced that David Zhang will succeed him as chairman in one year's time.

The news follows conflicting reports over the weekend on the timing of his exit.

Daniel Zhang, chief executive of Alibaba Group.

"While remaining as executive chairman in the next 12 months, I will work closely with Daniel to ensure a smooth and successful transition", Mr Ma said in the statement.

Ma will complete his current term on Alibaba's board of directors following the company's annual general meeting in 2020.

Mr Ma, who turned 54 on Monday, was an English teacher before starting Alibaba in 1999 and building it into a multi-billion-dollar internet colossus, becoming one of the world's richest men and a revered figure in his homeland.

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Mr Ma has a current net worth of $36.6bn (£28.3bn), according to Forbes.

One of China's biggest tech titans is stepping down.

Ma stepped down as chief executive in 2013. "I also want to return to education, which excites me with so much blessing because this is what I love to do".

Mr. Zhang had previously served as Taobao's chief financial officer, president of Tmall.com and as Alibaba's chief operating officer before succeeding Jonathan Lu as chief executive.

The company, which is battling arch rival Tencent Holdings for pole position in the food delivery market, recently said it will merge units including Ele.me and Koubei and raise funds for the combined business.

Ma said he will continue to be a member of the Alibaba Partnership and focus his new free time on philanthropy.

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