Jack Ma, the Chairperson of Alibaba stepped down from the Chinese retail giant as he turns 55 on Tuesday, handing over the baton to the current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Daniel Zhang.

As he turned 55 on Tuesday, Jack Ma hosted a huge farewell party at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center that has a capacity of 80,000 seats with spectacular pomp and show accompanied by concerts and celebrity performances.

After steering the company worth approximately $460 billion, to the greatest heights in the last two decades, Jack Ma decided to take a back seat while entrusting his board of directors to carry forward his legacy of innovation.

Ma, whose flamboyant style and charismatic leadership inspired many has announced his gradual departure plans a year ago saying “the one thing I can promise everyone is this: Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba.”

Named the richest man of China with a net worth of $38 billion by Forbes, Jack Ma was a former English teacher who founded Alibaba 20 years ago and nurtured it to scale the skies, leaving all his competitors behind to make Alibaba one of the most valued Asian firms.

Interestingly, one of the reasons behind choosing this particular date to step down is that it is Teachers Day in China on September 10. Often nicknamed as ‘Teacher Ma’, Jack Ma plans to devote his time for educational and philanthropic purposes.

Ma had earlier told that he was inspired by the philanthropic activities of Bill Gates and said that he wanted to retire earlier than Gates who stepped down at the age of 58 in 2014.

However, Jack Ma will continue to perform some advisory functions for Alibaba and will continue to mentor the management.

Jack Ma’s success and his vision have become a legend in China while the world waits to see the transformation that a Philanthropic Ma will bring.


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