Jack Ma, the founder and chairperson of Chinese multinational conglomerate retail and e-commerce firm Alibaba, retired from his post on Tuesday, TechCrunch reported. Ma had announced his decision to resign last year.

Ma will continue to serve on Alibaba’s board of directors until the annual general shareholders’ meeting next year. He will also remain a lifetime partner of Alibaba Partnership, a group comprising members of the senior management of the Alibaba Group of Companies.

Ma first resigned as Alibaba’s chief executive officer in 2013, and was replaced by Jonathan Lu. In 2015, Daniel Zhang replaced Jonathan Lu. Zhang will now officially take over as Alibaba’s chairperson.

Ma had said last year that he would resign as chairperson in a very gradual manner so as to “ensure a smooth transition” for Zhang. “This transition demonstrates that Alibaba has stepped up to the next level of corporate governance from a company that relies on individuals, to one built on systems of organisational excellence and a culture of talent development,” Ma had said in a letter to shareholders, employees and customers.

He had said: “The one thing I can promise everyone is this: Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba.”

Interestingly, Ma, a former teacher, resigned on Teachers’ Day in China. Ma has also expressed his desire to devote time to education philanthropy.

Ma co-founded Alibaba with 17 other people, some of whom were his students, out of his apartment in Hangzhou in eastern Zhejiang province in 1999. Ma helped build it into a $420-billion company with more than 500 million Chinese customers. Apart from e-commerce, Alibaba also handles digital payments, online banking, cloud computing and digital media and entertainment.

Now, follow and debate the day’s most significant stories on Scroll Exchange.