Liu Qiangdong “increases the weight” of Xu Ran, the first female CEO of JD.com.
On the evening of November 15, JD.com announced that Xu Ran, CEO of JD.com Group, will concurrently serve as CEO of JD.com Retail. This means that Xu Ran no longer only plays the role of a “rear commander CEO” who coordinates JD.com’s overall situation. She has become a “frontline leader CEO” who directly leads the team to the front line.
This is a state that the previous JD Group CEO Xu Lei has never experienced: when Xu Lei became the CEO of JD Group in April 2022, the JD Retail CEO at this time was Xin Lijun. In other words, this personnel change is the first time in many years that JD.com has combined the two key roles of group CEO and retail CEO.
In today’s JD.com territory, JD.com Retail is undoubtedly the company’s most important backbone and hottest battlefield: in the latest revenue ratio, JD.com Retail contributed 87% of the entire group’s revenue; while in the e-commerce sector covered by JD.com Retail, In the shopping market, JD.com’s team has been engaged in a high-intensity and continuous war with a number of old and new opponents.
This is a personnel change that attracts attention from the outside world.
Since Xu Ran became the CEO of the group on May 11 this year, Xin Lijun has been in charge of the retail group with the e-commerce sector as its core business and reported to Xu Ran. Xu Ran is not specifically involved in the business. She will give suggestions after listening to the report. Xu Ran usually Ran will also travel to major key venues as the group’s highest “spokesperson”.
With the latest personnel changes on November 15, the identities of both have undergone qualitative changes.
“Except for a very small number of senior executives within JD.com, no one else knew about this adjustment (before it was announced).” An important person close to JD.com’s senior management told Huxiu that the main purpose of this change may be twofold: First, , Strengthen the synergy between the group and retail, so that the group’s will can be implemented in the retail sector more quickly, directly and efficiently; secondly, Lao Liu may have other directions and appoint Xin Lijun in other ways.
Another relevant person told Huxiu that this personnel change is essentially a continuation of JD.com’s structural adjustment.
“Since the beginning of the year, Lao Liu’s adjustments to JD.com can be summarized as reducing levels and streamlining the structure, with the aim of improving organizational efficiency and optimizing synergy.” The person said that the most emphasized model within JD.com in 2023 is the “combat group BOSS model.” , in Lao Liu’s ideal state, the BOSS of a combat group is only two floors away from the group CEO. “The CEO of the group and retail is held by one person, which is actually reduced by one level.”
At the same time that JD.com announced personnel changes, JD.com also announced its financial report for the third quarter of 2023. This is Xu Ran’s second quarterly financial report after becoming the group’s CEO. From the data point of view, Xu Ran handed over a “stable and slight increase” answer sheet, while Xin Lijun also gave a “stable and successful” closing performance.
From a group level, JD.com’s revenue in the third quarter was 247.7 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 1.7%; operating profit was 9.3 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 6.8%. From a retail perspective, JD.com’s retail revenue in the quarter was 212.05 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of only 0.06%; in terms of operating profit, it achieved 11 billion yuan in the quarter, a year-on-year increase of 0.68%.
A person related to JD.com told Huxiu that under the influence of the overall consumption environment in 2023, it is indeed difficult for the retail sector with e-commerce as its core business to achieve “explosive growth”, and some business growth rates have not returned to pre-epidemic levels. status.
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Data from the financial report shows that in the third quarter of 2023, JD.com’s merchandise revenue fell by 0.9% year-on-year. “It is unrealistic to expect breakthrough growth in e-commerce retail, which is dominated by traditional self-operated business. Faced with such a situation, senior management may need to consider some new ideas.” said the above-mentioned person.
It is worth noting that Xin Lijun has not “completely retired.” It is reported that JD.com has made it very clear that General Xin Li will have another appointment. Judging from Xin Lijun’s social account, he seems to have a good attitude. No matter how tight the Double Eleven situation is, he will still check his video account and like some video content related to international issues.
Xu Ran’s weight increased
Xu Ran “returned” to the place where her “Jingdong dream” began.
In July 2018, Xu Ran, who switched to JD.com from PwC, took his first job as JD.com’s retail CFO. She served in this position for nearly 22 months.
Her rise in JD.com is inseparable from her years as JD Retail CFO. This experience also made Xu Ran one of the business experts familiar with JD Retail. Someone close to Xu Ran at the time told Huxiu that Xu Ran had three characteristics that impressed Liu Qiangdong: he could accurately state business data and details at any time, like a “humanoid accounting book”; in Liu Qiangdong’s investment projects at the time, He plays a key adviser role and dares to give key suggestions; outside of professional topics, Xu Ran is taciturn, gentle and low-key.
During their retail years at JD.com, Xu Ran and Xin Lijun were “colleagues” for a short time. Around 2019, Xin Lijun served as the president of JD.com’s retail life service business group, but he soon became the CEO of JD Health in July 2019.
Within JD.com, Xin Lijun is regarded as a “doer”. This Jiangxi native is a direct descendant of Xin Qiji. He once started an Internet company and joined JD.com when he was nearly middle-aged. Since joining JD.com in 2012, Xin Lijun has been working hard at JD.com for about 12 years.
Xu Ran and Xin Lijun are two types of people. They are both described by relevant people at JD.com as “competent professional managers who joined JD.com”, but their capabilities and characteristics are different.
Xu Ran’s trump card is to reduce costs and increase efficiency. According to JD.com’s internal sources, one of the things that impressed Liu Qiangdong about Xu Ran was that she took her accounts to Liu Qiangdong and pointed out that there were dozens of places where she could “save money”, including many “money-saving tips”. Liu Qiangdong was unexpected. In addition, Xu Ran has a gentle personality and has long been regarded as a “lubricant talent” among JD.com executives. She has almost “quit” emotions, is willing to listen, and is good at convincing the old brothers within JD.com to “follow Lao Liu to conquer the world.” ”Achieve consensus and collaborate.
Xin Lijun’s trump card is his ability to lead a charge, work efficiency, and industry vision. He has a “gentle big brother” demeanor and is generally known as “Lao Xin”. He rarely engages in heated exchanges and is used to expressing his opinions gently, but he has his own opinions and will stick to the “right thing.” Xin Lijun is relatively tolerant of his subordinates, and he is even considered one of the top executives of JD.com who likes to “give his subordinates more space.”
An insider from JD.com told Huxiu that as Xu Ran concurrently serves as JD.com’s retail CEO, he can focus on solving two core issues: First, when explosive growth is no longer realistic, optimize the core e-commerce business by reducing costs and increasing efficiency. Profitability is a pragmatic path, and this is something Xu Ran is familiar with and good at; secondly, Xu Ran has the dual role of CEO of JD Group and CEO of JD Retail, which can better promote collaboration between JD Retail and other departments. Her gentle Personality can also play a “lubricating” role in various business lines, which will accelerate the upgrade of JD’s internal collaboration.
A “metaphor in the context of JD.com” covered by this personnel change is: Previously, all JD.com Group CEOs were appointed by executives who were former JD.com Retail CEOs. Xu Ran broke this convention, and now she has returned. Jingdong Tradition”.
“The importance of JD.com’s retail to JD.com is equivalent to the golden key of a big family’s warehouse. Whoever holds this key has more say.” An old man from JD.com gave a vivid metaphor.
What follows is a change in the reporting relationship. As of this year’s Double Eleven, three core executives in charge of key business lines, JD Retail CEO Xin Lijun, JD Logistics CEO Hu Wei, and head of the innovative retail division Yan Xiaobing, all report directly to Xu Ran. After stepping down as CEO of JD.com Retail, Xin Lijun currently retains his position as chairman and CEO of Dada Group, and Xin Lijun is still JD.com’s most critical member of the SEC organization. (Huxiu Note: SEC is the Strategy Executive Committee, JD.com’s Strategy Executive Committee. Members all communicate directly with Liu Qiangdong on a regular basis and receive the latest instructions from Liu Qiangdong)
Does JD.com need to charge forward more, or live a prudent life?
Xu Ran “returned” to the familiar JD retail, but the internal and external environments have undergone tremendous changes.
From the total market value, we can feel the current competitive environment that JD.com is in: As of November 15, 2023, the total market value of JD.com is US$42.039 billion; while the total market values of Alibaba and Pinduoduo are US$213.598 billion and US$147.473 billion respectively. .
A third-party analysis agency told Huxiu that the market structure of e-commerce GMV in the first half of 2023 is: Alibaba, Pinduoduo, JD.com, and Douyin occupy the top four. Pinduoduo has seen significant growth relying on the cost-effective consumption boom after the epidemic, and Douyin has huge traffic.
The key challenge facing Xu Ran is how to sharpen JD.com’s “killer trump card” in the fierce competition and form a differentiated mentality among several major “friends”. From 2022 to the present, Liu Qiangdong has spared no effort to promote the “low-price strategy” within JD.com. Since the beginning of the year, JD.com has continued to launch “tens of billions of subsidies”. This action has indeed brought growth to JD.com: as of mid-November, the number of users of JD.com’s tens of billions of subsidized channels has increased five times compared with the beginning of the year. But now in the entire Internet environment, “all platforms are competing for low-cost minds.” JD.com needs more sustained penetration if it wants to achieve real differentiation in this field.
Also, Xu Ran needs to continue to solve JD.com’s “traffic pressure”. It is worth noting that JD.com’s latest procurement and sales live broadcast room was not included in JD.com’s latest third-quarter financial report because this project was actually born in October. The opportunities and challenges before Xu Ran are: can the purchasing and selling live broadcast room model be amplified and cultivated into JD.com’s new “main weapon” by increasing investment? Or should we cultivate it within a cost-controllable range?
Someone from JD.com’s internal business line told Huxiu that based on Xu Ran’s past work style, she was not the kind of manager willing to engage in high-risk games. “Xu Ran is better at reducing costs, optimizing inefficient business lines, and sorting out collaborative models to improve efficiency.” Another relevant person said that “supporting Xu Ran” during this cycle means that senior management “is in the traditional e-commerce industry.” The business sector’s first priority is to reduce costs and increase efficiency to defend the country.”
It is worth noting that JD.com’s cost pressure is currently increasing.
Taking labor costs as an example, data from JD.com shows that its total human resources expenditures in the first three quarters of 2023 have reached 76.3 billion yuan, equivalent to 3.7 times its net profit in the first three quarters. In the third quarter, JD.com’s contract fulfillment expenses and marketing expenses increased by 6.1% and 4.6% year-on-year respectively.
The good news is that while the growth rate of the e-commerce retail market is slowing down, JD.com’s service revenue (including platform and advertising service revenue, logistics and other service revenue) is growing rapidly. During the quarter, JD.com’s service revenue increased by 12.7% year-on-year.
A bigger question is that Xu Ran needs to maintain the retail industry while cultivating this place as a “rear base to boost other growth points.” People close to JD.com’s senior executives revealed that several directions that Liu Qiangdong is currently very optimistic about include offline retail (including offline supermarket business and community group buying business), and instant retail.
On June 27 this year, Yan Xiaobing, an old man from JD.com who once led JD.com’s 3C business and fought hard against old rivals such as Suning and Gome, officially returned. After his return, he quickly became the head of the innovative retail division. This division covers the current JD.com has almost all offline supermarkets, community group buying and other businesses.
An insider told Huxiu that the personnel changes on November 15 may be just a starting point for the next new adjustments. Key changes may continue to occur within JD.com around its organizational structure and business system.
“Frankly speaking, the growth of e-commerce business is slowing down or even weak, which is a pressure point that JD.com cannot avoid at the moment. Whether it is offline retail or instant retail, it is difficult to become JD.com’s pillar business in the short term, but these represent JD.com’s future. . Xu Ran’s coming to power is a clear signal: when growth slows down, JD.com can choose to make profitability perform better. And JD.com urgently needs someone like Xiao He to continuously deliver resources, ammunition, and coordination to the front line. This The person seems to be Xu Ran.” A senior Internet person told Huxiu that JD.com’s senior management reached some consensus in the first half of the year: JD.com cannot win today’s market by throwing money and traffic. Regardless of traffic and cash, JD.com will Not the most advantageous. “JD.com is facing a protracted battle. It is not a battle that can be decided in one or two days, so it needs a leader who can live a careful life.”