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Business

8 founders who started, then left their own company or were eased out

ET Bureau|
​Jack Ma, Alibaba
1/8

​Jack Ma, Alibaba

It is not often that founders leave the companies they once started and scaled to new heights.

Here are some instances where top entrepreneurs either moved away from running their companies or were forced to move aside.

Jack Ma, Alibaba: Last week, on his 55th birthday, Ma stepped down as executive chairman of Alibaba, the e-commerce giant he founded two decades back, to focus on philanthropy and education. His farewell was like a rock concert, attended by thousands of Alibaba employees.

AFP
​Bill Gates, Microsoft
2/8

​Bill Gates, Microsoft

The tech company cofounder stepped down as CEO in 2000 when he was just 44, handing over the baton to his confidante Steve Ballmer. Fourteen years later, Gates also quit as chairman of the company’s board, choosing to remain just an adviser. He is now solely involved in the running a foundation with his wife Melinda.

BCCL
Mike Lazaridis, Research in Motion
3/8

Mike Lazaridis, Research in Motion

In 2013, the cofounder of BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion retired as vice-chairman and director of the company he had cofounded in 1984. His quitting the company came as surprise since he had managed to turn it around. Lazaridis later started an investment fund.

Agencies
​Mark Pincus, Zynga
4/8

​Mark Pincus, Zynga

In 2014, founder of mobile social gaming company Zynga moved away from handling the day-to-day operations to just serve as non-executive chairman of the board. However, a year later, Pincus had to return to lead the company after then CEO Don Mattrick left. A year later, he again stepped down as chief executive.

BCCL
​Jack Dorsey, Twitter
5/8

​Jack Dorsey, Twitter

In 2008, the board of the micro-blogging site, unhappy with Dorsey’s management style, asked the cofounder to let someone else run the company while he remain the chairman. But in 2015, Dorsey, then 38, returned to action at Twitter and has been the CEO ever since.

AP
​Travis Kalanick, Uber
6/8

​Travis Kalanick, Uber

In 2017, eight years after he founded the ride-hailing company, Kalanick was forced to step down as CEO after a series of rows rocked Uber. The 43-year-old is now chief executive of City Storage Systems that redevelops distressed real estate.

BCCL
​Brendan Eich, Mozilla Corp
7/8

​Brendan Eich, Mozilla Corp

In 2014, Eich had to quit as chief executive officer of Mozilla Corporation, which he had cofounded in 2002, after facing backlash over his views against same-sex marriage.

Agencies
​Steve Jobs, Apple
8/8

​Steve Jobs, Apple

In 1985, Jobs, the cofounder of the tech company, was ousted as CEO in a boardroom battle. He went on to start another company NeXT, which Apple bought in 1997, marking Jobs’ return as CEO. Jobs died in 2011.

(Source: BBC, Forbes, WSJ, CNN, LA Times, news agencies)

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