Chinese business magnate Jack Ma has confirmed that he will be stepping down as chairman of the board of e-commerce giant Alibaba, with incumbent CEO Daniel Zhang set to replace him, CNBC reports.
In a note addressed to the company’s shareholders and customers, Ma wrote that he will maintain the post of executive chairman for a twelve-month transition period before releasing all duties to Zhang on September 10, 2019. He retired from role of CEO in 2013.
As Ma wrote, the 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 organisational excellence and a culture of talent development.”
Since founding Alibaba in 1999, the former English teacher Ma has become an icon for China’s business and tech sectors. According to Forbes, he has a net worth in the region of $36.6 billion, making him one of the country’s richest individuals.
“The one thing I can promise everyone is this: Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba,” Ma wrote.