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China online retailer Alibaba names new chief

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Chinese online retail giant Alibaba on Monday named a new chief executive officer after high-profile founder Jack Ma said he would step down in May.

Alibaba Group said in a statement Lu Zhaoxi, the current executive vice president and a 13-year veteran of the company, would take up the post on May 10.

Ma set up Alibaba in 1999, convincing friends to fund him with $60,000 to start the Chinese online retailer which later became one of the world's biggest trading sites.

He sold a 43 percent stake in Alibaba to Yahoo! for $1 billion in 2005, but relations with the US Internet pioneer were stormy and last May Yahoo! said it had agreed to sell its shares back to Alibaba for more than $7 billion.

Ma said in January he would step down as chief executive but retain his post as chairman to continue providing strategic direction.

Lu was previously founding president of the firm's online payment platform Alipay and chief executive officer of subsidiary Alibaba.com, the group said in a separate statement on its corporate website.

"He is passionate about and familiar with the group's various businesses," Ma said in the statement.

Alibaba's businesses include Taobao, China's most popular online shopping destination, which had more than 800 million product listings and more than 500 million registered users as of 2012.

Lu told employees to put customers first and pledged transparency in running the company.

"We must continue to adhere to the principles of openness and transparency as we share Alibaba Group's resources with the entire society," the firm quoted him as saying.

Last year, Alibaba was hit by a scandal after a senior manager in the company's group discounts platform was detained on suspicion of taking bribes, although the exact details were not disclosed.

In 2011, the head of Alibaba's business-to-business arm resigned after a company probe found about 100 salespeople colluded with or negligently assisted more than 2,300 sellers in fraudulent listings.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130311/china-online-retailer-alibaba-names-new-chief