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China | Alibaba Founder Jack Ma Retires, Alibaba Partnership System Guarantees the Group's Vision For the Next 102 Years

Sep 27, 2018.Siqi DaiBeijing, CN
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Alibaba Group Official Site

The Alibaba Group Holding Limited announced that from September 10, 2019, chief executive officer Daniel Zhang will succeed Jack Ma as chairman of the board of Alibaba Group. Mr. Ma will continue as executive chairman of the company over the next 12 months to ensure a smooth transition and will complete his current term as a member of Alibaba Group’s board of directors until its annual general meeting of shareholders in 2020. In addition to continuing to serve as a partner of Alibaba in the future, he will return to being an educator as an English teacher.

Mr. Ma is a lifetime partner dubbed the Alibaba Partnership which was created by 18 founders lead by Mr. Ma when the company was founded in 1999. Unlike traditional dual-class ownership structures which is determined by the voting shares by its founders, the Alibaba Partnership gives rights to a large group of management partners to enable senior managers to nominate the majority of board members to override bureaucracy and hierarchy, rather than the board seats based on the number of shares. The qualification requirements for becoming a partner are as follows:

the partner must serve in Ali for 5 years; must hold the company's shares and have a limited sales requirement; the incumbent will nominate the recommendation to the partner committee, and the partner member will review and agree to participate. Elections; on the basis of one person, one vote, more than 75% of the partners voted to join, and the election and removal of the partners need not be considered or passed by the shareholders meeting. As well as making positive contributions to the company's development, willing to make full demands on the company's culture and mission.

When the system was born, it became a major controversy in 2014 which was unpalatable to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the Alibaba Group chose New York as their listing. However after Mr. Ma retired from the group as CEO in 2013, the operation of the company continued its system successfully for five years.

The value of the Alibaba Partnership system is becoming more apparent, and it guarantees the founder's vision of the company's long-term development for the next 3 centuries to last 102 years. As Mr. Ma mentioned on Weibo (Chinese SNS) : "With the company founders at the discussion table, we asked ourselves this question 10 years ago: How can we guarantee that Alibaba can sustain itself after Mr. Ma leaves the company? We believe that only by establishing a system that can be built on culture-centric philosophy, governance, and consistency in developing talent. No company can rely solely on its founders and we can solve the problem of enterprise inheritance and development.”  

At present, Alibaba Group has 36 partners, who are young and most born after the 80s, including Wu Zeming, the head of Tmall Technology, and Hu Xi, the deputy CTO of Ant Financial since February 24, 2017.