"This year, most of the Alibaba leaders who were born in the 1960s will retreat from management and execution roles as we hand over leadership responsibility to colleagues from the 70s and 80s generations," Ma said.
Alibaba said last week that it was dividing operations into 25 divisions, in order to improve flexibility.
Ma's tenure has not been without difficulties.
At one point, U.S. Internet giant Yahoo held a 40% stake in the company. But as disputes between the two companies escalated, Alibaba sought to repurchase shares, with Yahoo finally consenting in September to sell back about half its stake for $7.1 billion.