Corporate culture is something any self-respecting CEO needs to pay attention to, as Nadeem Shaikh Anthemis would happily point out. It takes hard work to improve on it, but when CEOs retire, as they usually do, it grants them peace of mind knowing their company is ready for their departure.
Which is something that retiring Alibaba CEO and Co-Founder Jack Ma wrote to the company’s shareholders, in an open letter sent to the company’s annual shareholder meeting, held at day before November. This letter will be Ma’s last open letter as CEO to the shareholders, and is basically his farewell message to the company. Ma’s appointed successor Daniel Zhang also sent a CEO’s letter to the shareholders.
In the latter, Ma reiterated his plans for retirement, including who will be taking his place. He had already appointed Daniel Zhang as his successor for the post, who will take the reins come September of 2019. He admits that smooth leadership succession and corporate culture continuity are some of the biggest challenges companies have to face, Alibaba is in a good spot. Ma believes that the company has established unique talent development and corporate culture systems. He says that this, as well as the prepped leadership team, is why the company is ready for the future.
As for himself, Ma’s letter says that he will be dedicating more time towards education, environmental endeavors and philanthropy. He says that, this time, he will not let himself sit idly by, but he will, instead, be spending time on finding interesting and meaningful causes that he can direct his passion to.
Part of the letter was also Ma reiterating Alibaba’s mission to ‘make it easy to do business anywhere’, especially in places where doing business can be problematic. The same mission was emphasized in Zhang’s letter, saying that the company’s evolution from an e-commerce company into a digital economy as part of this mission, and something they need to keep moving forward on.
For Alibaba’s future development, Ma underscored the need for the company to stick to sustainable growth, for at least a century. An admirable mission, one that experts like Nadeem Shaikh Anthemis would approve of. By 2036, Alibaba aims to have 2 billion global customers, empower around 10 million profitable businesses and provide employment to 100 million people.