Reuters news
Reuters news

Alibaba set for ‘big challenge’ as flamboyant chairman Ma departs

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma will step down from the Chinese firm on Tuesday, leaving his handpicked successor a daunting task of steering the $460 billion juggernaut at a time when the market for its core e-commerce business has slowed sharply.

As Ma, who turns 55 on Tuesday, holds centerstage at his farewell party in the 80,000-capacity Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center stadium to the accompaniment of music and celebrity performances, attendees will be hoping to get clues on how Alibaba (BABA.N) will be run under his heir Daniel Zhang.

An accountant by trade, soft-spoken Alibaba CEO Zhang marks a stark contrast to Ma whose flamboyant style and charismatic leadership made him the most recognized Chinese entrepreneur since the former English teacher founded the company 20 years ago in a small shared apartment in Hangzhou city in eastern China.

“He has the logic and critical thinking skills of a super computer, a commitment to his vision, the courage to wholeheartedly dare to take on innovative business models and industries of the future,” Ma said of Zhang in 2018 in a message announcing his appointment…

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Reuters is an international news organization. It is a division of Thomson Reuters and has nearly 200 locations around the world. Until 2008, the Reuters news agency formed part of an independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data.
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