Alibaba CEO Jack Ma is stepping down but will remain as chairman

Ma wll formally step down on May 10

Alibaba Group's Jack Ma will step down from his position as CEO of the Chinese e-commerce giant in May, to help usher in its next generation of leaders. But he will stay on as executive chairman to focus on company strategy.

Ma, who helped found Alibaba in 1999, said he was leaving at the age of 48 because he no longer felt young in today's Internet business, according to a post on the company's Alizila site. He will formally step down on May 10, when a successor could be named.

Ma said he expects Alibaba's new generation of leaders to be "better equipped" to lead the company. But he will remain as the company's full-time chairman, with one of his roles devoted to developing Alibaba managerial personnel.

A former English teacher, Ma led Alibaba to become China's largest e-commerce company, besting eBay and other local competitors wanting a piece of the Chinese market. The company established both Taobao Marketplace and Tmall, two of China's most popular online retail sites. For the first 11 months of last year, gross merchandise volume for the two sites surpassed 1 trillion yuan (US$159 billion).

Ma made the announcement after Alibaba said last week it would reorganize itself from seven business units into 25 smaller groups in order to improve operations at the company.

Although Ma is stepping down as CEO, he could still be heavily involved in Alibaba's operations, said Mark Natkin, managing director for Beijing-based Marbridge Consulting.

"I think the company will continue to perform well," he said. "In general, I don't think he would transition to chairman if he didn't feel confident that his current managers would do a good job."

But despite Alibaba's success under Ma, the company has also faced scandal and public relation challenges. In 2011, the company announced that it's business-to-business trading platform Alibaba.com had been embroiled in a major fraud case, which caused the exit of senior executives.

"You're going to have some scandal, and you're going to have some PR issues. I don't think that's entirely avoidable," Natkin said. "The real question is have users been put off using their services, and I think the answer is clearly no."

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business issuesYahoopersonnele-commerceAlibaba Groupinternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?