Jack Ma Yun, co-founder and executive chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, has said he will step down from his post to pursue philanthropy in education.
The 53-year-old former English teacher told The New York Times in an interview that he will retire from business on Monday, which is also his birthday.
Ma will remain on Alibaba’s board of directors and continue to mentor the company’s management, the paper reported.
“I love education,” Ma was quoted as saying. He said this would mark “the beginning of an era” for him as he switches to spending more of his time and fortune on education.
Alibaba was established in 1999 by 18 founders led by Ma in his apartment in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Less than two decades later, it wears the crown as China’s e-commerce king.
In 2014, the company listed in New York in a $25 billion initial public offering — the world’s largest that year.
Ma has already handed over day-to-day operation of the group to successor Daniel Zhang Yong as CEO. “To make sure a company doesn’t age and makes no mistakes, I chose to believe in the younger generation,” he said in a May 2013 speech.