Alibaba’s Jack Ma will step down as CEO
Shanghai, China (4E) – Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd., will step down as CEO of the company, fueling speculation that the China-based e-commerce company is moving toward public listing.
In his letter to employees yesterday, the 48-year old Ma said that he will remain as the company’s chairman. His tenure as chief executive will end on May 10, by then his successor will likely be named. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index ranks Ma as among the richest men in China with a net worth of $3.4bn. The former English teacher has been in charge of Alibaba since it started in 1999.
The decision comes following the announcement by Alibaba to break up its business into 25 separate units, each having its own executive.
Analysts see this as a signal that Alibaba is in the final phase of its plans to take its shares public after the announcement earlier this month of a management restructuring and the delisting of its Hong Kong unit in June. Last year, the Hangzhou, China-based company bought back its stake from Yahoo! in a deal that valued the company at $35bn.
Based on Yahoo’s quarterly financial report for the July to September period, Alibaba’s profit grew more than three times to $781.7mn in the three quarters that ended June 30. Sales figures also expanded by 74 per cent to $2.9bn.
Alibaba Group is the parent company of online marketplace Alibaba.com, shopping site Taobao and online payment service Alipay.