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September 11, 2019 07:00 am

Jack Ma Steps Down On 20th Birthday of Alibaba

Jack Ma has stepped down from the position of chairman at the company he co-founded exactly 20 years ago. Ma announced his retirement plans last year, saying at the time he wanted to spend more time focusing on education. ZDNet reports: Ma bid farewell to Alibaba, sporting a rock star wig and guitar at an employee event Tuesday, according to Reuters. "After tonight I will start a new life," Ma reportedly said at Tuesday's event. "I do believe the world is good, there are so many opportunities, and I love excitement so much, which is why I will retire early." His retirement was not the end of an era, the former English teacher said when he announced he was stepping down, but "the beginning of an era," adding also at the time, "I love education." CEO Daniel Zhang succeeds Ma as chairman of the board, effective September 10, 2019. Ma stayed on for a year to "ensure a smooth transition of the chairmanship." "I have put a lot of thought and preparation into this succession plan for ten years," Ma wrote in a letter to shareholders and customers in September. "When Alibaba was founded in 1999, our goal was to build a company that could make China and the world proud and one that could cross three centuries to last 102 years. However, we all knew that no one could stay with the company for 102 years. A sustainable Alibaba would have to be built on sound governance, culture-centric philosophy, and consistency in developing talent. No company can rely solely on its founders."

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