FILE PHOTO: The logo of Alibaba Group is seen at the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, Nov. 18, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Lazada, the Southeast Asian arm of Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding, announced on Friday it would replace its chief executive officer.
The firm said in a statement that Lazada Group Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Pierre Poignant will be replaced by Chun Li, a former Alibaba executive, who is currently Lazada co-president and head of its Indonesia operations.
Reuters reported earlier on Friday that Poignant would be replaced by Chun Li, citing sources. Two people with knowledge of the matter said the move is due to the e-commerce firm’s middling performance.
Lazada has struggled to fend off rivals like the Singapore-headquartered SEA’s e-commerce arm Shopee, which is backed by Alibaba rival Tencent, for control of the fast-growing market of 650 million consumers.
The firm in a statement said Li would work to improve Lazada’s standing through data technology application and business localisation across the firm’s six markets.
Poignant had himself replaced Lucy Peng, an Alibaba co-founder, who stepped down as CEO after 9 months in 2018 although she remains executive chairwoman. The firm said he will now become special assistant to Alibaba Group Chairman and CEO Daniel Zheng.
Alibaba has long struggled to manage Lazada, a company it owns 90% of after investing $3 billion since 2016, with employees highlighting a long-running culture clash with management from China.
Three sources told Reuters that Lazada is also examining whether to rebrand or shut down LazMall, its take on Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace.
James Sullivan, who heads Lazada Logistics, is also expected to step down, two people said.
Reporting by Keith Zhai and Fanny Potkin in Singapore; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Christopher Cushing