In an interview with the New York Times Jack Ma revealed his plan to step down as executive chairman of Alibaba — often referred to as China’s Amazon — on Monday. He co-founded the Chinese internet retailer in 1999 and built it into an empire currently worth $420 billion and making the former English teacher China’s richest man worth about $40 billion. According to the paper current CEO Daniel Zhang is a “candidate” to replace Ma, who plans to pursue philanthropy in education. Monday is his 54th birthday, and the Chinese holiday Teacher’s Day, making the announcement particularly timely.
Update 9/8: An Alibaba spokesperson told the South China Morning Post that the NYT report wasn’t strictly accurate. Ma is unveiling a succession strategy, the company said, and will supply transition details for a while yet. He’s still the executive chairman, at least for now.