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Alibaba's Jack Ma To Hand Chairman Role To CEO Zhang In Sept. 2019

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Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA) said that its chief executive officer Daniel Zhang will succeed Jack Ma as chairman of the board, starting September 10, 2019.

Ma will continue as executive chairman at Alibaba over the next 12 months for a smooth transition of the chairmanship to Zhang, the company said. After that, Ma will remain on the board until Alibaba's annual meeting of shareholders in 2020, the company said. His retirement as executive chairman will coincide with his 55th birthday.

In a letter to Alibaba's customers and shareholders, Ma said the transition "demonstrates that Alibaba has stepped up to the next level of corporate governance from a company that relies on individuals, to one built on systems of organizational excellence and a culture of talent development."

"Starting the process of passing the Alibaba torch to Daniel and his team is the right decision at the right time, because I know from working with them that they are ready, and I have complete confidence in our next generation of leaders," Ma wrote. He added that he plans to continue his role as the founding partner in the Alibaba Partnership, which is a group made up of 36 senior leaders entrusted with the company's mission, vision and values.

"I also want to return to education, which excites me with so much blessing because this is what I love to do," he said.

A former English teacher, Ma started Alibaba.com in 1999 as a business-to-business marketplace with 17 co-founders. An investment from Japan's SoftBank Group Corp. helped the company expand to allow consumers in China buy online and fueling its rise. Through the Taobao and Tmall platforms, it is responsible for billions of dollars in sales and last year saw daily package deliveries reach 55 million.

Alibaba has since moved beyond e-commerce into cloud computing, digital payments, health care, Hollywood movies and backing China's startups. Its share price has more than doubled since its record 2014 initial public offering, climbing to a market value of about $420 billion.

BABA closed Friday regular trading at $162.37, up $2.50 or 1.56 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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