By Beth Main
Internet mogul and creator of Chinese online marketplace Alibaba, Jack Ma, announced on Tuesday that he will be stepping down as CEO of the Alibaba Group but will remain executive chairman, showing that he is by no means going to be taking it easy from now on.
Ma’s announcement comes a week after Alibaba announced its plan to reorganise its seven businesses (including TaoBao and Tmall) into 25 smaller units and amidst speculation that Alibaba is heading for an IPO in 2013.
Ma made the announcement that he would be stepping down on May 10 in an open letter to employees. His successor to the CEO position has not yet been named, but is expected to be a youngster as Ma feels that at 48 he is too old for the Internet industry and that the company needs younger blood.
Alibaba Group’s business-to-business Alibaba and consumer-oriented Taobao are two of the world’s most successful e-commerce platforms. The group also manages Yahoo Inc.’s Chinese operations and in September, Alibaba bought back $7.1 billion worth of its company (about 40 percent of the company) that was owned by Yahoo. The U.S. company still owns 23 percent of Alibaba.