Jack Ma, co-founder of Chinese e-commerce operator Alibaba, plans to step down as CEO in May. At that time, he will become the executive chairman.
Even though he is only 48, he thinks he is actually too old to run the company. He says leadership should be for those who were born in the 1970s and 1980s, not the 1960s. It looks like he has been cultivating a variety of candidates at Alibaba to become the CEO.
But there may be another reason for Ma’s move — that is, Alibaba is preparing to come public. To this end, he has been restructuring the operations. For example, the company purchased back half of Yahoo!’s (NASDAQ:YHOO) stake and acquired 27% of the shares from other minority investors. There was also a reshuffling of the management structure, which now involves 25 units.
If Alibaba does go public, it will certainly be a massive deal. During the first nine months of 2012, revenues surged by 74% to $2.9 billion. The company also generated substantial profits of $781.7 million.
Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He is also the author of “How to Create the Next Facebook” and “High-Profit IPO Strategies: Finding Breakout IPOs for Investors and Traders.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.