What Fashion Founders Can Learn From Jack Ma

Jack Ma, 54 years old, is the richest man of China. He founded Alibaba in 1998. Now the e-commerce company has around 40 billion US$ revenues. In a letter sent to employees, customers and investors announcing his retirement Jack Ma says that:

1. "The one thing I can promise everyone is this: Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba"

2. " I have put a lot of thought and preparation into this succession plan for ten years"

3. "This transition demonstrates that Alibaba has stepped up to the next level of corporate governance from a company that relies on individuals, to one built on systems of organizational excellence and a culture of talent development."

4. "No company can rely solely on its founders. Because of physical limits on one’s ability and energy, no one can shoulder the responsibilities of chairman and CEO forever."

5. "To achieve long-term sustainable growth, you need the right balance among system, people and culture" A feasible and smart succession plan is a must for fashion companies. And, no, it's not given for granted that friends and families can be the best option.

Big conglomerates become public entities, they stop being personal kingdoms.

Time to learn the lesson.

Ma, 54, China’s reachest man who makes about 40 billion makes plans to leave Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., his legacy will be an enduring one. He did far more than just create and build an e-commerce juggernaut into the most valuable company in Asia, impressive as that may be.

He showed that an innovative private enterprise could thrive under a Communist Party regime once hostile, and still at times suspicious, of ambitious capitalists.

by Susanna Nicoletti - a fashion and luxury marketing, communication and digital senior professional in the industry with boutique consultancy www.thefashiondispatch.com