Lazada CEO Lucy Peng to step down after 9 months in role; company veteran Pierre Poignant to take over

Lazada Group chief executive officer Lucy Peng will remain executive chairman. PHOTO: LAZADA GROUP

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Lazada Group chief executive officer Lucy Peng will step down and cede her role to Pierre Poignant, a six-year veteran of the leading South-east Asian e-commerce operator.

Ms Peng, one of 18 co-founders of Lazada's controlling shareholder Alibaba Group Holding, will remain executive chairman, the Singapore-based company said in a statement on Thursday. Mr Poignant, who joined Rocket Internet-incubated Lazada in 2012, will immediately take the CEO role.

Mr Poignant's appointment comes just nine months after Alibaba installed Ms Peng as CEO to replace Maximilian Bittner. The Chinese e-commerce behemoth had put in another US$2 billion this year to deepen its bet on South-east Asia. Mr Poignant, 39, has held several roles during his six-year stint at Lazada, including expanding logistics as chief operating officer. Lazada has 31 warehouses in six countries.

"The job is not new to me," Mr Poignant said in an interview. "We are in a very diverse region, in six countries with vastly different consumer base, vastly different landscape. The solution is different in each of these markets."

Mr Poignant, who was appointed to Lazada's newly created executive president post in August, brushed aside speculations about internal issues that might have led to the management shuffle.

"Obviously when you bring the two companies with strong cultures together and draw the road map for the next three to five years, people can share their ideas and debate, which is quite natural," he said. "I'm very confident that we have the right team and the right strategy for the future."

Under Ms Peng, Alibaba and its South-east Asian subsidiary Lazada worked on integrating their platforms and rolled out a set of new features. For example, Lazada customers can now snap a picture of any product they wish to buy using the app. And it'll instantly show a list of similar items and their prices, which is powered by Alibaba's search-by-image.

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