Is Jack Ma retiring?
Speculation is that the Co-founder of the $420 Bn internet company, Jack Ma has decided to move out of the company to pursue philanthropy in education.
However, as per the South China Morning Post, the reports about Jack Ma’s retirement were factually inaccurate and taken out of context. Instead of stepping down from his current role, Jack is expected to reveal his succession plans to groom other executives to eventually take the helm of the company. China’s richest man, Jack is said to continue as Executive Chairman, while the strategy, which will take place over time, is carried out.
The announcement on Monday is set to coincide with Ma's 54th birthday.
“I sat down with our senior executives 10 years ago, and asked what Alibaba would do without me,” Jack said in an interview with the South China Morning Post, which Alibaba owns. “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.”
Jack had stepped down as Alibaba’s Chief Executive in 2013, handing over the reins to Jonathan, who was later replaced by Daniel Zhang. Daniel is now being seen as a candidate to replace Jack.
Whether Jack retires or not, he will remain on Alibaba's board of directors and continue to mentor the company's management.
Jack’s passion for education and philanthropy is no news. Before starting Alibaba in 1999, Jack was an English teacher and his colleagues often address him as “Teacher Ma.” And as Alibaba continued to flourish he talked many times about how he did not want to spend his whole life at the company, saying he would retire one day and go back to teaching.
Recently, in an interview with Bloomberg TV he also talked about focusing more on philanthropy. Citing the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates as an example, Jack said,
"There’s a lot of things I can learn from Bill Gates. I can never be as rich, but one thing I can do better is to retire earlier.”
As per the latest development, CEO Daniel Zhang will succeed Jack Ma as Chairman of the board, starting September 10, 2019, on the 55th birthday of Jack.
Jack will continue as Executive Chairman at Alibaba for about a year for a smooth transition of the chairmanship to Zhang, the company said in a statement. He also intends to stay on the Alibaba board of directors until the 2020 annual shareholders meeting.
He said, "Starting the process of passing the Alibaba torch to Daniel and his team is the right decision at the right time because I know from working with them that they are ready, and I have complete confidence in our next generation of leaders."