Zhang was a part of the team that created Alibaba's hugely successful Single's Day, the $25 billion online shopping event that is bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, Business Insider previously reported.
Daniel Zhang has accepted the challenge, first being promoted to CEO of Alibaba in 2015, the online marketplace founded by Ma, and then succeeding him as chairman after Ma's retirement on September 10.
Zhang, however, is as private as Ma is flamboyant.
Read more: Inside Jack Ma's 60,000-person retirement party, which was held in an Olympic stadium and featured employee performances that made Ma cry
Alibaba did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment on the transition or Zhang's background.