Alibaba Co-Founder Jack Ma to Step Down From SoftBank Group's Board

May 19, 2020 9:58 pm

Beijing (PingWest)- Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group Holding, has resigned from the board directors of Japanese technology investment company Softbank Group Corp, which happened about nine months after Jack Ma stepped down as executive chairman at Alibaba.

Ma has been pulling back from business role to focus on philanthropy over the past year.

The resignation of Jack Ma at age 56, is expected to become official at SoftBank’s 40th annual general meeting on June 25, when SoftBank will propose three new appointment including Chief Financial Officer Yoshimoto Goto, Lip-Bu Tan, CEO of chip design software firm Cadence Design Systems and Yuko Kawamoto, a professor at Waseda Business School as outside directors.

Following the new appointment, the number of board members will expand to 13.

Ma has a long business relationship with Softbank Group chairman and CEO Masoyoshi Son. SoftBank was one of Alibaba’s early investors and major backer, making an investment of USD20 million in 2000, one year after Alibaba was founded.

As of February 2020, it owned about 25.1% of Alibaba shares, according to a SEC filing. Its stakes in Alibaba is currently worth more than USD100 billion, which is Softbank Group’s most valuable investment.

Softbank’s announcement for the resignation of Jack Ma made a few hours before it is scheduled to release its first quarter financial report. Last month, Softbank announced it expected its Vison Fund worth USD100 billion could lost about USD16.5 billion, which driven largely by the collapse of WeWork and the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on other portfolio companies including Uber and Oyo.

Softbank has bough back more than 250 billion yen of its share at the end of April, it also pedged to sell down or monetise USD41 billion of its assets to raise cash and lower debt.