“Ma will continue as the executive chairman of the company over the next 12 months to ensure a smooth transition to Zhang,” a statement quoting the Chinese behemoth said here.
The Hangzhou-based company’s 20th anniversary on September 10, 2019, Zhang will take charge as the new chairman.
Zhang, who was earlier the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Taobao, an online shopping portal owned by the Alibaba Group, was appointed the CEO of the Alibaba Group in 2015. He has been with the company since 2007.
The co-founder of the company, Ma, will however, remain as a board member of the Alibaba Group until the annual shareholder meet in 2020, which marks the 21st anniversary of the e-commerce and tech conglomerate.
“While remaining as Executive Chairman in the next 12 months, I will work closely with Daniel (Zhang) to ensure smooth transition,” Ma said in a letter to the shareholders and employees on the occasion of the company’s 19th anniversary on Monday.
The transition demonstrates that Alibaba has stepped up from a company that relies on individuals, to one built on a culture of talent development, Ma’s letter addressed to the company’s 86,000 employees said.
Ma will remain a lifetime partner in the Alibaba Partnership and is a member of its partnership committee, the statement added.
The Alibaba Partnership has 36 partners, who are the senior management of Alibaba Group or its affiliates, including movie-making firm Alibaba Pictures, cloud computing firm Alibaba Cloud, financial services firm Ant Financial among others.
Founded in 1999 by Chinese teacher-turned-entrepreneur Ma as a platform to connect Chinese manufacturers with the world, Alibaba stands among one of the largest companies in the world.
Ma, who turned 54 on Monday, said while continuing as a member of Alibaba Partnership, he wants to return to education.
“I want to return to education, which excites me with so much blessing because this is what I love to do. The world is big, and I am still young, so I want to try new things,” the Chinese business icon’s letter added.
As per its statement, the company’s revenue was US$ 39.9 billion for fiscal 2017-18.
During the company’s annual global shopping festival held on November 11 last year, the firm made a whopping US$ 25 billion worth sales in a 24-hour period across its e-commerce platforms.
Apart from its online shopping portals, Alibaba also offers electronic payment services and cloud computing services.