Founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, will on Monday retire from the e-commerce company he co-founded in 1999, with New York Times reportng on Friday that the former English teacher is seeking to focus on philanthropy in education.
The report said Ma, one of China’s best known corporate leaders, will however remain on the company’s board of directors and continue to mentor its management. It was not immediately clear whether the company will appoint a new chairman.
Ma, a cult figure in China’s internet industry, who turns 54 on Monday, is China’s third richest person with a net worth of $36.6 billion according to Forbes magazine. He oversees a number of charitable projects in education and environmental fields. He is a cult figure in China’s internet industry and has attracted a big following among entrepreneurs and in pop culture.
Ma founded Alibaba with 18 people but today it has more than 66,000 full-time employees. The company is China’s biggest e-commerce firm with a market value of about $420 billion.
Ma also controls Ant Financial, which was valued at about $150 billion after a recent fundraising round.