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Lazada CEO James Dong appointed acting CEO of Daraz in Alibaba's latest reshuffle

Nicole Lim
Nicole Lim • 2 min read
Lazada CEO James Dong appointed acting CEO of Daraz in Alibaba's latest reshuffle
Dong was CEO of Lazada from 2022, and will now replace Bjarke Mikkelsen for the “deeper integration” of Alibaba’s sister companies. Photo: Bloomberg
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Lazada Group’s CEO James Dong has been appointed acting CEO of Daraz, Alibaba Group Holding’s South Asian e-commerce platform, in the latest management reshuffle at the e-commerce giant. 

The appointment, effective Jan 24, is in addition to Dong’s existing responsibilities. Dong became Lazada’s CEO in 2022, moving from his prior role as head of Thailand operations. 

He replaces Bjarke Mikkelsen, who has been the e-commerce firm’s CEO since 2015. Mikkelson said in a LinkedIn post that the change of hands is for the deeper integration of Daraz and its sister companies — a reference to Lazada. 

This appointment follows layoffs at Lazada, which began on Jan 3 amid an ongoing e-commerce battle between ByteDance’s TikTok Shop, PDD Holdings and Sea’s Shopee, among others. 

Daraz, a Pakistani firm founded in 2012, was acquired by Alibaba in 2018. It also operates in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. In February 2023, the company cut 11% of its roles to prepare for the “current market reality”, said ex-CEO Mikkelsen in a letter to employees.

The current state of Daraz is unsustainable, says Jerry Chao of Momentum Works, a Singapore-headquartered venture builder and insights research firm.

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Chao, who writes for Momentum Works’ blog, notes that the total population of these four South Asian countries that Daraz operates in, and their gross domestic product, is less than that of the six Southeast Asian countries that Lazada operates in. 

“Moreover, the infrastructure is generally much less developed — so Alibaba’s acquisition of Daraz in 2018 can only be described as very visionary,” adds Chao.

Noting that Daraz is “the smallest” of Alibaba’s B2C e-commerce businesses, Chao says the deeper integration of Daraz should be the general direction. 

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According to Chao, Dong could relinquish one of his roles soon. “At least one of the positions that James Dong now holds is likely to be temporary.”

Read more about how The Edge Singapore broke the news of layoffs at Lazada:

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