Alibaba shares closed in the green in the US Friday, ahead of news that Executive Chairman, Jack Ma, will step down from his role one year from now. After co-founding the ecommerce giant in 1999, Ma has become one of the richest men in China. His successor, Daniel Zhang, has already been confirmed.
Alibaba shares ended the US Friday trading session 1.52% higher, at $162.37. However, the stock is currently in the red, in out-of-hours activity.
Alibaba executive chairman to step down
In a letter to staff, shareholders and customers, Alibaba’s chief executive Ma announced his plans to step down from his role in one years’ time – when the business is 20 years old. He will hand the leadership of the Chinese ecommerce giant to current chief executive, Daniel Zhang.
“While remaining as executive chairman in the next 12 months, I will work closely with Daniel to ensure a smooth and successful transition. Thereafter, I will stay on the Alibaba board of directors until our annual shareholders meeting in 2020,” Ma wrote in his letter.
Ma adds in the letter that no company can rely on its founders and that for the past ten years he, along with the leadership team, have been working on a “system of governance based on a unique culture and mechanisms for developing consistent talent and successors.”
Ma to return to education
Former teacher Ma, said that the business had continued to run smoothly in the five years since Zhang became CEO. “Under his stewardship, Alibaba has seen consistent and sustainable growth for 13 consecutive quarters,” Ma said.
Ma said that the executive chairman role handover process would begin now, giving them a full year to ensure everything is in place for Ma to step down.
“I still have lots of dreams to pursue. Those who know me know that I do not like to sit idle,” Ma said. “I also want to return to education, which excites me with so much blessing because this is what I love to do. The world is big, and I am still young, so I want to try new things.”