Alibaba Founder and Chairman Jack Ma (L) talks to CEO Daniel Zhang at NYSE Bell Ringing ceremony during Alibaba Group's 11.11 Global shopping festival in Beijing, China, November 11, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
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Spotlight on Alibaba CEO Zhang as Ma nears exitUnlike his charismatic boss, Jack Ma, Alibaba Chief Executive Daniel Zhang isn't usually one to grab the limelight, let alone make kung fu movies with superstars or dance in public. Little is known outside the company about Zhang, a soft-spoken accountant who goes under the epithet "Xiaoyaozi" at work – the name of a character from a Chinese martial arts novel literally meaning the "free and unfettered one". But he will have to step out from the shadows after Ma said he would leave his role as chairman in September 2019, handing Zhang the reins of his $420 billion tech giant.Zhang, who leads Alibaba's investor calls with polish stemming from his years at global auditors Arthur Andersen and PricewaterhouseCoopers, has been CEO since 2015 .
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