Lei Xu, President of Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com Inc. has been promoted to chief executive from his role as President, succeeding founder Richard Liu, who steps down to focus on guiding the company’s long-term strategies, mentoring younger management, and contributing to the revitalisation of rural areas.
Richard, who will remain chairman of the Board, will devote “more of my time to JD’s long-term strategies and future drivers as we continue to work on the most challenging yet valuable things”, he says.
Tech billionaire Liu’s stepdown comes as the supply chain-based technology and service provider experiences a slowing of growth amid rising competition, shrinking consumer spending and Beijing’s increasingly tough regulatory environment.
Beginning late 2020, the government has established a five-year plan to strengthen rules that would clamp down on monopolistic behaviour and regular technological innovation and has steadily unveiled a wave of new industry regulations and penalties, many targeting ecommerce platforms.
JD.com, whose shares have nearly halved since their peak in February 2021, has cut jobs recently, as other Chinese internet giants like Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings also prepare for layoffs this year, according to Reuters.
Lei Xu – from President to CEO
Lei Xu is no stranger to the JD.com business, having been with the ecommerce heavyweight for more than a decade.
Described by founder Richard Liu as “highly regarded both inside and outside the company”, Lei has been instrumental in driving JD’s consistent stellar business performance and formulating strategic decisions.
He most recently served as President, responsible for the operation and collaborative development of various business units of the company. Under his leadership, JD.com has successfully navigated the evolving external environment with resilient performance, while maintaining strategic focus and continuing to create value for users and business partners.
Prior to this, Lei held various senior roles within the Fortune Global 500 company’s sales and marketing divisions of JD’s retail business, including CEO of JD Retail, Chief Marketing Officer of JD.com, head of JD Wireless and head of the marketing department.
Under his leadership, the company successfully rebranded itself from 360buy to JD.com and launched its popular mascot, Joy. Lei was responsible for the launch of JD Plus, the first paid membership service in China’s ecommerce industry, as well as JD’s Super Brand Day strategic marketing program.
As CEO of JD.com, he established the business philosophy of ‘trust-based and customer-centric value creation’, led JD Retail to achieve high-quality growth for consecutive years, and guided the visionary moves to develop the supply chain middle platform and omnichannel strategy, which accelerated the cultivation of the company’s future growth drivers.
Lei established JD’s marketing and public relations system and the platform operating system and propelled the company’s mobile-based strategic transformation. He also led the launch of JD 618 Grand Promotion and drove the opening-up of JD’s supply chain capabilities to power the society.
Before joining JD, Lei held several senior roles in marketing and operations at Lenovo, Allyes, and Belle E-Commerce. Lei holds an EMBA degree from China Europe International Business School.
“I share [Richard’s] business philosophy and commitment, and will continue to create value to our users, business partners and the society,” says Lei. “Together with the leadership team, I will further build on that and drive high-quality and sustainable growth of the company going forward.”
Lei will also join the Company’s board of directors as an executive director.
- 15 CEO insights from Forbes Global CEO Conference SingaporeLeadership & Strategy
- Top 10 female CEOs leading the largest companies in AsiaLeadership & Strategy
- Seven CEOs on how they approach decision makingLeadership & Strategy
- Six CEOs making leadership moves across AsiaLeadership & Strategy