Alibaba founder Jack Ma will step down from the board of SoftBank Group next month after serving as a director for 13 years, the Japanese conglomerate said Monday. SoftBank reported record annual losses the same day, reported Caixin.
Ma’s resignation will take effect June 25, when SoftBank holds its annual shareholders’ meeting. The company nominated three new directors including CFO Yoshimitsu Goto for election at the meeting, SoftBank said.
SoftBank didn’t explain Ma’s departure. But it is the latest move by the Chinese billionaire to pull back from his business roles to focus on philanthropy. Ma, China’s richest man with net worth of $41.8 billion, retired as chairman of Alibaba in September. He stepped down as Alibaba CEO in 2013.
Ma’s departure is notable given his decade-long, close ties to SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son. SoftBank was one of the earliest investors in Alibaba, betting $20 million on the e-commerce platform in 2000, a year after Alibaba was founded. SoftBank currently owns around 25% of the Chinese company, which has a market cap of nearly $545 billion and is SoftBank’s most valuable investment. Ma joined SoftBank’s board in 2007.