Tech appoints new president as founder steps back from day-to-day operations

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Richard Liu, founder and chief executive officer of
Billy H.C. Kwok | Bloomberg | Getty Images

GUANGZHOU, China —’s founder and CEO Richard Liu is stepping back from day-to-day operations while the Chinese e-commerce giant said it has created a new president role.

Xu Lei, who was previously CEO of JD Retail, will take up the role of president and take over day-to-day operations of and collaborative development of various business units of the company.

Meanwhile, Liu will remain chairman and CEO but will switch focus to formulating the e-commerce giant’s long-term strategies, mentoring younger management and “contributing to the revitalization of rural areas,” the company said.

The latest moves comes as China’s technology giants, including Alibaba, ByteDance and Pinduoduo, have undergone leadership reshuffles in the past few years, with founders taking more of a long-term strategy role.

“JD has a sound management structure with a large number of excellent business leaders, who, represented by Mr. Lei Xu, have strong belief in JD’s long-term business philosophy, proven leadership capability and extensive industry experience,” Liu said in a statement.

For some time, Xu has been rumored to take over the company’s day-to-day operations. Liu has remained fairly low profile following his 2018 arrest in the U.S. on allegations of rape. Liu was not charged.

Liu still owns around 80% of the voting rights of After starting the company in 2004, JD has grown into one of China’s biggest e-commerce companies and has expanded into areas including health and logistics.

There were two other management moves. Xin Lijun will take up the role as CEO of JD Retail after previously heading up JD Health. Jin Enlin has been appointed as CEO of JD Health, after previously being in charge of the company’s marketplace business.

“Looking to the future, the correct long-term strategic design, the growth and development of young talents, and the healthy and coordinated development of various business units will continue to be the driving force for JD in doing the hardest and most challenging, but right and most valuable things for the industry,” Liu said.

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