Chairman Jack Ma of Alibaba has been one of his kind in developing his company, and his retirement plan is no different, says Rupert Hoogewerf, the Shanghai-based founder of the Hurun Report, publisher of the China Rich List to the US News. “There’s only Bill Gates who has done the same.”
Ma, who turned 54 on Monday, has long flagged plans to step back, insisting that Alibaba management should be relatively young and his retirement is not expected to affect the running of the company.
But it is still extremely rare for a founder of big and transformative tech firm, especially one with a cult-like status like Ma, to retire so early.
“There’s only Bill Gates who has done the same. No other tech founder in the world has just resigned like that at the top,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, Shanghai-based founder of the Hurun Report, which publishes an annual influential list of China’s richest people.
Hoogewerf added that in China, Ma was a figure like no other, with friends ranging from movie stars to billionaire moguls, though he often outshone them all. “He’s the big one, he’s the one that brings them together.”
Ma will give up the chairman role in exactly one year on Sept. 10, 2019 and complete his current term on Alibaba’s board of directors following the company’s annual general meeting in 2020, the company said. He relinquished the role of chief executive in 2013.
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