Author: Li Li
Alibaba's 2008 Global Investors Conference, which just ended in Hangzhou, is the first ever since Alibaba announced its Inheritance Plan. As an important cornerstone of Alibaba's succession plan, Ali's unique partnership system has become the focus of investors and the outside world.
On the surface, the inheritance plan is directly reflected in the founder Ma Yunjiaoguan's current CEO Zhang Yong, behind Ma Yun and his founding team for this day to prepare carefully for the decade. For this day to come, Ma Yun in the past decade carefully designed their own departure, not simply to choose a successor, but a system, a team to complete the company's handover and fire handed down.
The Ali partnership system is different from the traditional partnership system in the partnership law and is not equivalent to the dual equity structure. In the "partnership" system, a partner nominates most of the directors of the board of directors, rather than allocating directors'seats according to the number of shares. This kind of institutional innovation is rare in Chinese companies and even in the world. Its greatest innovation significance lies in continuing the lifeline of the company with a scientific system. The management right and strategic direction of the company are in the hands of the founders and a group of managers who have a strong sense of identity with the company.
The Alibaba partner system has created innovative samples for Chinese companies to solve successors. That means Alibaba's corporate governance has gone away from personal heroism and dependence on its founders, says a representative of an investment body attending the meeting, and the company, which is heading global, has shown such determination and courage.
Brief history of partners
At the investor conference, Ma Yun reviewed the brief history of Alibaba partner development.
According to Ma Yun, Alibaba won the first investment in YAHOO as early as 2005. Ma Yun knew he was going to leave one day. "Alibaba wants to do 102 years, but no one can do 102 years of CEO, we need a heritage system, good will, have a model to pass on the company's business, and prepare for it."
From 2005 to 2009, Ma Yun and Cai Chongxin have been discussing enterprise inheritance, visiting many enterprises and institutions, hoping to understand how to be a long-term enterprise. During the visit, Ma Yun found that it is easy to do a good job as an enterprise, but it is difficult to be a sustainable and long-term development enterprise. "We finally designed our own model - partner mechanism." Ma Yun introduced, in 2009, Alibaba founder team resigned, began to explore partner mechanism. Since then, Alibaba has been thinking about this succession plan every year.
On September 10, 2013, Ma Yun disclosed the partnership system of Alibaba Group for the first time through internal mail. The partnership system, which was launched in 2010, has been exploring again and again.
Ali is very strict with his partners: must work in Ali for more than five years, with excellent leadership, a high degree of recognition of the company's culture, and positive contribution to the company's development. Up to now, according to public information, the number of Ali partners has increased to 36, including two post-80s, Tianmao technology director Wu Zeming and ant Jinsui deputy CTO Huxi.
The composition of partners is also very diverse. In addition to Ma Yun, Cai Chongxin, Peng Lei and other senior entrepreneurs; there are also in Ali before 2004, Tong Wenhong, Peng Yijie and other senior executives trained by the company; after that Ali through social recruitment involving financial, legal, technical and other fields of high-level management personnel, including Fan Road, Hu Xiaoming and well. Hsien Dong.
In the outside world, the most direct and realistic role of Ali partnership system is to ensure the right of founders and management to govern the company. Liu Run, chairman of Runmi Consulting and a traditional enterprise Internet researcher, thinks it is a good thing that Ma Yun can retire safely. This proves that the professional manager system and management system structure of Ma Yun team are more and more perfect. Ma Yun's retirement is worth learning from young China Internet Corporation. Good companies must live longer than people. This is also a reminder to other companies that they need to build on an architecture, not on individual capabilities.
System is the bottom line.
"We now have 36 partners as the soul and core of our entire business." Cai Chongxin, Alibaba's executive vice chairman, elaborated on the three characteristics of Alibaba's partnership system at the meeting of investors: establishing ethical standards, resolving succession issues, and avoiding the risk of key players.
Cai Chongxin pointed out that the Alibaba partnership system first set high moral standards for the company. Ensuring a company's ethical culture is one of the most important responsibilities of the partnership community, and moral character is also a very important factor in examining and electing partners. Each new partner has to go through 3 years of investigation and the support of 75% current partners.
The second significance of partnership system to corporate governance is to solve the problem of selecting successors and training talents. On the 10th anniversary of Alibaba Group, 18 founders resigned as "founders" and became "partners" of Alibaba Group. Cai Chongxin said the concern was that no one could have accompanied the company for so long and that the system lasted longer than people. Talking about the difference between the partnership system and the AB share system, he analyzed that the AB share system guarantees the founder's individual, it can not solve the development of the company after the founder left, and the partnership system can solve the long-term sustainable succession of the company's management.
In Tsai Chongxin's view, the third role of partnership system in corporate governance is to avoid the management risk brought by the change of a few key personnel by collective decision-making. In all major decisions, Alibaba's partners adhere to the "one person, one vote" equal decision-making mechanism.
At the same time, Alibaba's partnership team attracts new members each year, all of whom own stakes in the company, which makes the partner's wealth closely related to the value of the Alibaba Group. Through such institutional arrangements, Alibaba partners can protect shareholders'interests in the longer term while realizing customer value and employee value.
"Ma Yun sticks, the system is the bottom." Professor Liu Ying of Tsinghua University believes that in order to get out of the predicament of "founder of success, founder of failure", reduce the risk of fatal mistakes made by founders, and maintain vitality in metabolism and generation-to-generation transition, enterprises need to form a group of senior managers with persuasive internal and external power of discourse, and be able to resolutely implement the company's face. A long-term strategy for the future.
In Liu Ying's view, "the Chinese Internet companies on the ground" have always been full of heroism, and the founders are often the "signs" of the whole company, such as Ma Huateng's Tencent and Robin Li's Baidu. Because of this, Ma Yun's "cross bar" also has some symbolic significance.
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