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From Poor Beginnings To Billionaire Status: Jack Ma Retires From Alibaba

From Poor Beginnings To Billionaire Status: Jack Ma Retires From Alibaba


By Jack Kelly

Today, Jack Ma officially steps down as the chairman of Alibaba, the giant e-commerce company he cofounded 20 years ago. Ma’s resignation also falls on another momentous day—his 55th birthday.

Ma has implemented a succession plan—passing the baton to the next generation, including CEO Daniel Zhang and CFO Maggie Wu.

“Having been trained as a teacher, I feel extremely proud of what I have achieved. Teachers always want their students to exceed them, so the responsible thing to do for me and the company to do is to let younger, more talented people take over in leadership roles so that they inherit our mission ‘to make it easy to do business anywhere,’” Ma stated in his resignation letter on the 19th anniversary of Alibaba.

Ma says that he will continue to serve in some advisory functions.

His next chapter will be to pivot from the business world to improving education through philanthropy, following the footsteps of Bill Gates, a fellow pioneer in technological innovation. Ma would rather appropriate the earnings he’s made from Alibaba to positively changing the education system in China, instead of handing it to investors or banks.

As for myself, I still have lots of dreams to pursue. Those who know me know that I do not like to sit idle. I also want to return to education, which excites me with so much blessing because this is what I love to do. The world is big, and I am still young, so I want to try new things—because what if new dreams can be realized,” Ma says of his future.

The business magnate’s enthusiasm to share his knowledge was clearly evidenced in a recent wide-ranging debate with Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The free-form conversation covered artificial intelligence, space travel, inhabiting other planets, healthcare, the future of work and other meaningful topics. Ma was lively and looked like a weight was lifted off his shoulders. The teacher in him shined bright. It seemed that this debate was a sneak peek into the next chapter of his life—sharing his life and work experiences with everyone.

About Mikail Mumuni