Alibaba founder Jack Ma stepped down as CEO on May 10. At the company's Hangzhou, China, headquarters, Ma closed the event celebrating the 10th anniversary of Taobao, Alibaba's online marketplace, by offering a few parting words to more than 20,000 Alibaba employees, urging them to trust incoming CEO Jonathan Lu "as you trusted me."
Unlike other famous corporate founders who have returned to refocus a floundering company, Ma vowed that "I will not come back" as Alibaba's CEO. "Even if I did," he said, "I won't be of any use, because you will do a better job."
But he's not leaving the company completely behind. Though he will relinquish his day-to-day operational responsibilities, Ma will continue to serve as Alibaba's executive chairman. As mentioned in January, Ma will focus his attention on setting strategic direction, developing managerial talent, and strengthening Alibaba's social-responsibility efforts.
During his speech, he stressed the importance of solving China's severe environmental problems and emphasized the lessons he's learned on the job.
"The past 14 years have taught me what is persistence, hardship, and responsibility," he said, "and they also taught me that other people's success is your own success."