TECH

Jack Ma to unveil succession plans, not imminent retirement: SCMP

Published: 09 Sep 2018   

Online Desk

Alibaba co-founder and chairman Jack Ma will unveil a succession plan on Monday, the South China Morning Post reported Sunday, with a company spokesman denying a New York Times report that he would retire that day.

The SCMP, which is owned by Alibaba, said China’s most famous tech billionaire will “unveil a succession strategy” on Monday — his 54th birthday — but remain the company’s executive chairman for the foreseeable future, AFP reports. 

The New York Times ran an article on Friday, based on an interview with Ma, saying the former teacher turned billionaire planned to use his birthday to announce his retirement as chairman of Alibaba to focus on philanthropy.

The paper quoted Ma as saying the decision was “the beginning of an era”.

But an Alibaba spokesman told the SCMP that the New York Times’ story “was taken out of context, and factually wrong”.

“An Alibaba spokesman said Ma remains the company’s executive chairman and will provide transition plans over a significant period of time,” the SCMP wrote.

The paper added that the Monday succession strategy was part of a plan “for grooming a generation of younger executives to take over the reins” of the company.

Eileen Murphy, a spokesperson for the New York Times, said the newspaper stood by its story.

Ma was an English teacher before starting Alibaba in 1999 and built it into a multibillion-dollar internet colossus, becoming one of the world’s richest men and a revered figure in his homeland.

His own worth has soared along with that of the company, which has added cloud computing, films and e-payments to its growing portfolio and was valued at $420.8 billion when the stock market closed on Friday.

The New York Times’ report surprised many in the global business community because of Ma’s comparative youth, especially in China where it is not unusual for tycoons to remain in place into their eighties.

Alibaba did not return requests for comment on Saturday after the story ran.

Ma gave up the title of Alibaba CEO in 2013 but remains a pivotal figure within the company as well as its most recognisable face.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV released on Friday, Ma hinted at his retirement plans, saying he wanted to follow in the footsteps of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, one of the world’s most prolific philanthropists.

“There’s a lot of things I can learn from Bill Gates. I can never be as rich, but one thing I can do better is to retire earlier,” he said.

The SCMP report ran quotes from Ma himself, but they did not address when exactly he would retire. Ma said he met with company executives 10 years ago to work out “what Alibaba would do without me”.

“Anybody who knows me knows I embrace the future. This is not about retiring, stepping away, or backing off. This is a systematic plan,” the paper quoted Ma as saying.

The SCMP said Ma would be in Russia next week for Alibaba business meetings as well as an upcoming trip to South Africa and a planned speech at the company’s investor day in mid-September.


People have to wait to see my wedding: Alia Bhatt

People have to wait to see my wedding: Alia Bhatt

Actress Alia Bhatt has made it clear that her well-wishers ...

Khaleda Zia seeks stay on Orphanage Trust verdict

Khaleda Zia seeks stay on Orphanage Trust verdict

A provisional leave to appeal was filed on Monday seeking ...

Clashes between pro-Turkish rebels kill 25 in Syria

Clashes between pro-Turkish rebels kill 25 in Syria

Clashes on Sunday between Turkish-backed rebel factions vying for influence in ...

BNP interviewing nomination seekers on 2nd day with Tarique on video call

BNP interviewing nomination seekers on 2nd day with Tarique on video call

BNP has started interviewing its nomination hopefuls to finalise the ...

Blind Australians get bionic vision to partially restore sight

Blind Australians get bionic vision to partially restore sight

Four blind Australians have had their vision partially restored through ...

One killed in Kushtia ‘gunfight’

One killed in Kushtia ‘gunfight’

A suspected robber was killed in a reported gunfight between ...

Australia  PM's 'lewd' reply angers Anderson

Australia PM's 'lewd' reply angers Anderson

Actress Pamela Anderson has criticised Australia's prime minister for making ...

Action against Tarique if there is law: EC Rafiqul

Action against Tarique if there is law: EC Rafiqul

Election Commissioner Rafiqul Islam has said that the Election Commission ...