Mon, Sep 10, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Alibaba denies Jack Ma retirement report

BIRTHDAY PLANS:A spokesperson for the ‘New York Times’ said that it stands by its story, but a company spokesman said Ma merely plans to present a succession plan


Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) cofounder and chairman Jack Ma (馬雲) is to unveil a succession plan today, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported yesterday, with a company spokesman denying a New York Times report that he would retire.

The SCMP, which is owned by Alibaba, said China’s most famous tech billionaire is to “unveil a succession strategy” today — his 54th birthday — but remain the company’s executive chairman.

The New York Times ran an article on Friday, based on an interview with Ma, saying the former teacher turned billionaire planned to use his birthday to announce his retirement to focus on philanthropy.

The paper quoted Ma as saying the decision was “the beginning of an era.”

However, an Alibaba spokesman told the SCMP that the New York Times’ story “was taken out of context, and factually wrong.”

“An Alibaba spokesman said Ma remains the company’s executive chairman and will provide transition plans over a significant period of time,” the SCMP wrote.

The paper added that the succession strategy is part of a plan “for grooming a generation of younger executives to take over the reins.”

Eileen Murphy, a spokesperson for the New York Times, said the newspaper stands by its story.

Ma gave up the title of Alibaba chief executive officer in 2013, but remains a pivotal figure within the company.

The SCMP report ran quotes from Ma himself, but they did not address when exactly he would retire.

Ma said he met with company executives 10 years ago to work out “what Alibaba would do without me.”

“Anybody who knows me knows I embrace the future. This is not about retiring, stepping away or backing off. This is a systematic plan,” the paper quoted Ma as saying.

Ma would be in Russia next week for business meetings, as well as an upcoming trip to South Africa, and a planned speech at the company’s investor day in the middle of this month, the SCMP said.

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