Mr. Ma will continue as executive chairman of the company over the next 12 months to ensure a smooth transition of the chairmanship to Mr. Zhang. He will also complete his current term as a member of Alibaba Group's board of directors until its annual general meeting of shareholders in 2020.
Mr. Ma is a lifetime partner in the Alibaba Partnership and is a member of its partnership committee. The Alibaba Partnership is currently comprised of 36 partners who are also members of senior management of Alibaba Group or its affiliates. Pursuant to the articles of association of Alibaba Group, the Alibaba Partnership has the right to nominate a majority of the directors to the board of the company.
"I have put a lot of thought and preparation into this succession plan for ten years. I am delighted to announce the plan today thanks to the support of the Alibaba Partnership and our board of directors. I also want to offer special thanks to all Alibaba colleagues and your families, because your trust, support and our joint enterprise over the past 19 years have prepared us for this day with confidence and strength," said Jack Ma.
Daniel Zhang became chief executive officer barely three years ago. The 46-year-old certified accountant has been the driving force behind a mandate to transform old-school commerce using technology that it's dubbed "New Retail." Since his ascension, the Shanghai-educated executive has proven a capable operator, designing and pulling off mega-events such as the annual Singles' Day shopping bonanza. The company's stock has risen 87 percent over his tenure and Alibaba now has a market value of about $420 billion, eclipsing WeChat operator Tencent Holdings Ltd.