Jack Ma Will Leave Alibaba

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Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba, China's largest e-commerce company, will step down, a process started five years ago when he transitioned out of the CEO role. Jack Ma is a powerful figure because of his billionaire success and his leadership reputation. Duncan Clark, author of Alibaba: The House that Jack Built, describes Ma as "an iconic figure" and "the most recognizable symbol of the China internet explosion and more broadly the China consumer boom."

Although the news had hit major media outlets, the Alibaba Group website doesn't yet have a posted press release. A Financial Times article includes this quote from Ma via The South China Morning Post: “I sat down with our senior executives 10 years ago, and asked what Alibaba would do without me. I’m very proud that Alibaba now has the structure, corporate culture, governance and system for grooming talent that allows me to step away without causing disruption.”

The move comes as Chinese tech stocks fall out of favor, partly because of regulatory and trade concerns. The Wall Street Journal reports that Ma will pursue philanthropic interests.

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Discussion:

  • What impact do you think Ma's decision will have on the Alibaba Group?
  • Should the company have a press release posted on its website? What would be the value?
  • Draft a press release announcing the decision.