Alibaba Group chaiman Jack Ma has announced he will step down next year to pave way for new blood to take over management of the e-commerce giant.
“No company can rely solely on its founders … because of limits on one’s physical capacity and energy,” Jack Ma said in a letter. “No one can take on the responsibilities of president and CEO forever,” he said.
Alibaba said Ma will remain a member of the Alibaba Partnership, a group of 36 people with the right to nominate a majority of its board of directors. That arrangement limits shareholder control, but Ma has defended it as a way to keep Alibaba focused on long-term development.
“This 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,” said Ma’s letter.
Alibaba operates e-commerce sites Taobao and Tmall, which dominate much of online sales in China.
e-commerce sales in China rose 32.2 percent last year to 7.2 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion), accounting for 20 percent of total retail spending.