JD.com’s Richard Liu Becomes Latest China Tech Billionaire To Leave CEO Post

JD.com, one of the world’s largest e-commerce businesses, announced on Wednesday that company president Lei Xu had been appointed CEO, succeeding billionaire founder Richard Liu.

Liu, worth $ 12.8 billion on the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List, will stay on as chairman of the Beijing-headquartered business.

“I’ll 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,” Liu said in a statement.

Xu has been with JD.com for over a decade. In his most recent role as president of JD.com, he was in charge of the operation and collaborative development of various business units, the statement said. He will join the company’s board of directors as an executive director.

Liu’s switch is the latest in a series of high-profile departments by billionaire CEOs at China tech companies in recent years amid government policy shifts toward the industry and calls for improved distribution of wealth. Others to step down include Pinduoduo’s Colin Huang, ByteDance’s Zhang Yiming and Kuaishou’s Su Hua. ByteDance owns the widely popular TikTok app.

Liu, 48, who also goes by Liu Qiangdong, opened a retail shop in 1998, but closed it six years later and moved the business online.

JD.com’s investors include Walmart. The company went public at the Nasdaq in 2014; it has a secondary listing in Hong Kong.

Liu was arrested in Minneapolis in August 2018 for alleged sexual misconduct, but the county attorney did not pursue charges after an investigation.

JD Logistics, JD.com’s logistics arm, and JD Health, its healthcare distribution arm, today announced board changes (see details here and here).

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