Alibaba Group Holding Ltd Chairman Jack Ma told the New York Times that he plans to step down from his role at the company on Monday, marking the end of an era at China’s e-commerce juggernaut.
China’s richest man said that he would remain on Alibaba’s board of directors as he pursues philanthropic endeavours, the New York Times reported. Ma told Bloomberg earlier this week that he wanted to dedicate more of his time and fortune to philanthropy with the creation of a foundation in his own name focused on education, following in the footsteps of fellow billionaire Bill Gates.
Even after stepping down as chief executive officer in 2013, the former English teacher remains the public face of a company with a market value of more than US$400 billion and interests spanning e-commerce and Hollywood film production to cloud computing and online payments. During his time as chairman, he helped guide growth at home and overseas while spearheading its 2014 initial public offering, the biggest ever.
Ma, who turns 54 on Monday, has a net worth of more than US$40 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. While Ma sees himself as an accidental executive who only entered the business world with Alibaba’s founding almost 20 years ago, he has become one of China’s most recognized corporate leaders.