Alibaba Group has appointed James Dong (pictured right) as Lazada's new CEO, effective immediately. Dong replaces Chun Li (pictured left), who was also CEO of Lazada Indonesia, according to his LinkedIn. Li will serve as advisor to Lazada Group chairman Jiang Fan and remain on Lazada's board of directors, Lazada's spokesperson told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.
"Since Dong joined Lazada in 2018, he has quickly delivered success in his various roles. Dong is also a well-liked leader among locals, passionately sharing his knowledge to cultivate a strong local bench force. We thank Li for his invaluable contribution to Lazada and wish him well. Li's wisdom and humility as a respected leader is what Lazadians will miss most," the spokesperson said. Meanwhile, multiple media reports such as Bloomberg, and Reuters said the change in leadership comes amidst an intensifying battle for supremacy in Southeast Asia's internet arena, with competitors such as Shopee and Tokopedia.
Dong has been with Lazada for over four years, most recently helming the role of CEO, Lazada Thailand and Vietnam. Prior to joining Lazada, he was head of globalization strategy and corporate development at Alibaba. During that time, Dong also served as a business assistant to Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang, both sources reported. He was also previously associate partner at McKinsey.
Li has been with Lazada for over five years and was appointed CEO in 2020. He first joined the company in 2017 as co-president. Prior to joining Lazada, he was B2B division CTO at Alibaba Group and, before that, director of product development - payment risk at Alibaba.
Separately, Alibaba said in April that it plans to take Lazada to Europe as part of its strategy to drive growth in overseas countries, according to multiple reports including Reuters. It was reported that the plan to expand Lazada to Europe was due to Alibaba's slowing opportunities in China.
That month also saw Lazada launch its LazEarth campaign, as part of the company's commitment to support sustainable practices in the digital commerce ecosystem. The campaign will focus on reducing plastic waste in its products and packaging, given that Southeast Asia generates an estimate of over 31 million tonnes of plastic waste each year, according to a report by ASEAN which details a regional action plan for combating marine debris in the ASEAN member states.
Meanwhile, Lazada Thailand was involuntarily dragged into the spotlight last month after a TikTok video for its 5.5 sale by influencer Aniwat Prathumthi enraged royalists. Its spokesperson acknowledged and apologised for "the unacceptable mistake of a content created and posted by" the influencer on 4 May. It told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE then that it "fully recognises that the content was hurtful and demeaning to human dignity".
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