Jack Ma, founder of the Chinese e-commerce firm, Alibaba, will step down as chief executive officer of the company in May this year.
Ma, who has led Alibaba since its establishment in 1999, said he will continue as an executive chairman and the new chief executive officer will be selected by 10 May 2013.
Ma told the Financial Times, "In the future, my responsibilities as chairman will focus on strategic issues under the guidance of our board of directors, and I will assist the CEO in the development of our culture and talent as well as helping our team to strengthen our social responsibility efforts."
"At 48, I am no longer "young" for the internet business. The next generation of Alibaba people are better equipped to manage an internet ecosystem like ours."
Ma will step down as CEO before the company files to go public.
The e-commerce company has also gained the interest of Credit Suisse Group and Goldman Sachs Group for the initial public offering, according to Bloomberg.
Earlier this month, Alibaba revealed a restructuring plan, which will divide the company into 25 different units.
Last month, Yahoo’s executive vice president of people and development, Jacqueline Reses, joined Alibaba’s board.
Alibaba’s profits more than tripled to $781.7m in Q3 1012 with, sales rising 74% to $2.9bn.
In September 2012, Yahoo sold back around half its stake in Alibaba for $7.6bn (£4.7bn).
Yahoo paid $1bn in 2005 to acquire the original Alibaba stake in lieu of ownership of Yahoo’s Chinese operations.