Jack Ma, China’s notable billionaire tech magnate, will step down as the executive chairman of Alibaba (BABA), the company announced on Monday. Ma, who co-founded Alibaba in 1999, said in a letter to employees and shareholders that, “No company can rely solely on its founders… Because of physical limits on one’s ability and energy, no one can shoulder the responsibilities of chairman and CEO forever.”
Alibaba announced that Daniel Zhang, the company’s current CEO, will succeed Ma in 2019, placing Zhang at the helm of Asia’s most valuable company. Zhang joined Alibaba in 2007 and was appointed CEO in 2015.
Ma, a former English teacher, now intends to pursue more philanthropic efforts and “new dreams,” he said on Monday.
Alibaba has a market capitalization of $420 billion and has seen its stock price more than double since its 2014 initial public offering.
Kevin Carter, Founder of EMQQ The Emerging Markets Internet ETF, said the transition Ma laid out has actually been a very orderly one.