Following speculation about Jack Ma’s imminent retirement, Alibaba Group announced today that its CEO, Daniel Zhang, will succeed Jack Ma as chairman next year. After stepping down as chairman on September 10, 2019 (exactly a year from now), Jack Ma will continue serving as a board member until its annual general shareholders’ meeting in 2020.
Replacing China’s best known tech tycoon at the top of the country’s largest company by market value will push Daniel Zhang center stage. But the executive, who has worked for Alibaba (BABA) for more than a decade, is considered a safe pair of hands.
Jack Ma will officially pass the baton in exactly 12 months’ time, on his 55th birthday, but remain on the board until 2020. He now intends to focus on philanthropy and education but also pursue unspecified “new dreams,” he said in a statement Monday.
Before changing into CEO in 2015, Daniel Zhang spent much of his career at Alibaba within the group’s core on-line shopping business.
Alibaba describes him as “the key architect” of Singles Day, an occasion that started as an endeavor to spice up sales and grew into the world’s biggest shopping day.
The craze of on-line spending, that takes place on Armistice Day, generates larger sales than Black weekday and Cyber weekday combined. Last year, it lidded $25 billion.
Daniel Zhang’s promotion is probably going to mean continuity in business, however it’ll bring a modification in leadership style.
Ma, 54, created a name for himself as an someone, dressing up as Jackson and a stripling to perform at company events. He even marked in a very short Kung Fu film.
Daniel Zhang has unbroken a far lower profile.
“He’s delicate mannered, he is a lot of Clark Kent, and Jack’s the Superman,” said professional dancer Clark, the author of “Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma designed.”
Daniel Zhang has admitted as much himself. “Jack Ma may be a guy with several ideas. He is very, terribly artistic,” Daniel Zhang aforementioned in Associate in Nursing interview with the monetary Times last year. “But i am the guy WHO forever needs to place my foot on the bottom.”
At 46, the younger executive remains willing to experiment, though. “He has the center to pioneer and take a look at artistic business models,” Ma wrote in his letter weekday saying the succession arrange.
Jack Ma has headlined conferences round the world and was one in all the first foreign business leaders to satisfy with Donald Trump once his election. He has affected a careful balance while tensions between China and also the U.S. have up over trade.
But he has conjointly said within the past that he isn’t happy being the wealthiest person in China, wherever Brobdingnagian personal fortunes have solely emerged in recent years and ar subject to intense scrutiny.
A number of position executives have nonexistent from public read solely to show up later in association to corruption or criminal probes, together with the heads of Anbang Insurance cluster Co. and CEFC China Energy Co. Such scandals haven’t been associated with Jack Ma or Alibaba.
The company encompasses a robust management team and Ma is likely to still have a task in setting prime level strategy, said Brock Silvers, manager of Kaiyuan Capital.
“On a daily basis, Alibaba shareholders in all probability have very little to concern,” said Silvers.
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