Jack Ma Officially Steps Down as Alibaba Chairman

Jack Ma, the charismatic Chinese entrepreneur behind Alibaba Group, handed his board chairman title over to CEO Daniel Zhang on September 10.

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When Ma announced last year that he, within a year, was going to hand over the role of executive chairman to CEO Daniel Zhang and step away from managing the e-commerce giant he founded 20 years ago, the announcement came as a surprise.

The 55-year-old self-made billionaire has spoken of his dissatisfaction with his busy life because of the enormous pressure and responsibility he has had to shoulder to manage the multi-billion dollar company with more than 80,000 employees. He famously said his “biggest mistake was establishing Alibaba.”

While Ma no longer manages Alibaba’s daily operations, after stepping down as CEO, he remains the company’s public face, travelling the world to preach on the benefits of technological advancement.

“The thing is, I don’t want to die in my office. I want to die on the beach,” Ma told talk show host Charlie Rose in an interview from 2017.

In last year’s announcement, Ma said that he plans for his departure from Alibaba Group to be very gradual, “The one thing I can promise everyone is this: Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba.”

In addition to being the day when Jack Ma retires, September 10 also marks Alibaba’s 20th anniversary and the company has taken the opportunity to update its corporate value called “New Six Values.” The new values were posted on Alibaba‘s official Weibo account with Ma explaining that all major decisions made throughout Alibaba‘s history are related to the values.

The New Six Values For The Alibaba Digital Economy

  • Costumers first, employees second, shareholders third
  • Trust makes everything simple
  • Change is the only constant
  • Today’s best performance is tomorrow’s baseline
  • If not now, when? If not me, who?
  • Live seriously, work happily