Alibaba Announces Executive Chairman Succession Plan

Alibaba Group Holding Limited has announced that on September 10, 2019, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang (pictured) will succeed Jack Ma as chairman of the board of Alibaba Group. Mr. Ma will continue as executive chairman of the company over the next 12 months to ensure a smooth transition of the chairmanship to Mr. Zhang.

Mr. Ma will complete his current term as a member of Alibaba Group’s board of directors until its annual general meeting of shareholders in 2020.

Mr. Ma is a lifetime partner in the Alibaba Partnership and is a member of its partnership committee. The Alibaba Partnership is currently comprised of 36 partners who are also members of senior management of Alibaba Group or its affiliates. Pursuant to the articles of association of Alibaba Group, the Alibaba Partnership has the right to nominate a majority of the directors to the board of the company.

Mr. Ma issued a letter to Alibaba’s customers, employees and shareholders.

In the letter, he said, “I have put a lot of thought and preparation into this succession plan for ten years. I am delighted to announce the plan today thanks to the support of the Alibaba Partnership and our board of directors. I also want to offer special thanks to all Alibaba colleagues and your families, because your trust, support and our joint enterprise over the past 19 years have prepared us for this day with confidence and strength.

“This 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 organizational excellence and a culture of talent development.

“Since the founding of the company in 1999, we have been of the view that Alibaba’s future will need to depend on “droves of talent” to enable us to iterate on our management succession plans. After years of hard work, today’s Alibaba has a world-class talent pool in quality and quantity. The teacher in me feels extremely proud of our team, our leadership and our unique mission-driven culture, as well as the fact that we continue to develop exceptional business leaders and professional talent like Daniel Zhang.   

“Daniel has been with Alibaba Group for 11 years. Since he took over as CEO, he has demonstrated his superb talent, business acumen and determined leadership. Under his stewardship, Alibaba has seen consistent and sustainable growth for 13 consecutive quarters. His analytical mind is unparalleled, he holds dear our mission and vision, he embraces responsibility with passion, and he has the guts to innovate and test creative business models. Deservedly, China’s business news media has named him the No.1 CEO in 2018. For these reasons, he and his team have won the trust and support of customers, employees and shareholders. 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.

” As for myself, I still have lots of dreams to pursue. Those who know me know that I do not like to sit idle. I plan on continuing my role as the founding partner in the Alibaba Partnership and contribute to the work of the partnership. 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 – because what if new dreams can be realised?!” 

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