Alibaba chairman Jack Ma steps down, CEO Daniel Zhang succeeds

With $42 Billion Jack Ma Ex-Teacher Steps Down As Alibaba Big Boss

An accountant by trade, soft-spoken Alibaba CEO Zhang marks a stark contrast to Mr. Ma whose flamboyant style and charismatic leadership made him the most recognised Chinese entrepreneur since the former English teacher founded the company 20 years ago in a small shared apartment in Hangzhou city in eastern China. He was quickly swarmed by his employees who shouted out their congratulations and showered him with applause.

Ma also told attendees that he hoped to see Alibaba shoulder more responsibility to improve society amid the sweeping changes brought about by technologies like big data and 5G. The day was marked by a company celebration at an 80,000-seat, Olympic-sized sports stadium in Hangzhou, an event eyed closely by analysts for indications of Alibaba's future prospects. It has backed a number of Hollywood titles, including the two most recent "Mission: Impossible" films, "UglyDolls", and the Oscar-winning "Green Book", among others.

He is set to remain a member of Alibaba's partnership, a corporate governing group of 38 individuals that is separate from the board of directors.

Earlier, Jack Ma offered to work 12 hours a week.

"For Daniel Zhang, this will be a big challenge".

Ma's exact retirement plans are unclear, however, he reportedly plans to spend his time focusing on charity projects and those dealing with education in particular.

"Jack has been signaling for some time his interests in philanthropy, environment, women's empowerment, education and development", said Duncan Clark, the author of "Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built".

"After tonight, I will start a new life". Recently, Ma has been taking full advantage of his fame, belting out "Unchained Melody" at a Chinese music festival, debating AI with Elon Musk, and even starring in his own kung-fu flick alongside the likes of Jet Li and Donnie Yen.

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