Alibaba founder Jack Ma to step down in 2019

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(Shanghai) – Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma announced he would step down as leader of the pioneering Chinese e-commerce giant in one year, but insisted that a planned leadership transition would not break the company’s stride.

Ma will stay on as executive chairman until September 10, 2019 before handing over his role to chief executive officer Daniel Zhang, Alibaba said in a statement.

“While remaining as executive chairman in the next 12 months, I will work closely with Daniel to ensure a smooth and successful transition,” Ma said in the statement.

Ma said he would remain on Alibaba’s board until 2020.

Ma, who turned 54, was an English teacher before starting Alibaba in 1999 and building it into a multi-billion-dollar internet colossus, becoming one of the world’s richest men and a revered figure in China.