Li Ning seeks professional managers again and appoints former Uniqlo China COO as co-CEO-Tiger Sniffing Network

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2019-09-02 09:03
This article is from Wechat Public No. ID: Langxiong Sports. Author: Liu Nanqi. The cover is from the original text.
On the morning of September 2, Li Ning (HK2331) announced that Li Ning, chairman and acting CEO of the board of directors, had been transferred to co-CEO, appointing former global executive director of Uniqlo (Fast Sales Group), COO of Uniqlo China, and Korean CEO of Uniqlo Kao Sakami (Japanese Chinese, Chinese Qian Wei) as co-CEO.
Since Li Ning returned to Li Ning Company at the end of 2014, the top management of Li Ning Company has been introduced.
Qian Wei, New Co-CEO of Li Ning Company
Joint CEO, they have a clear division of labor – Li Ning overall control and strategic planning of the company, continue to work with the management team to lead the company’s business development, responsible for group personnel, finance and strategy; Qian Wei’s work will focus on the operation of the group.
This also means that Li Ning, 56, did not leave the company’s front-line management, but found a professional manager to share the CEO’s job. Over the past five years, Li Ning’s position has been “acting CEO”. Qian Wei has been jointly appointed as “Co-CEO” in order to smooth the transition of Qian Wei’s first visit to the company. Compared with the direct “replacement”, Li Ning chose a less radical way to prepare for the company’s long-term development in the future.
Qian Wei, 48 years old, was born in mainland China in 1971. He studied in Japan in 1990. He joined the Uniqlo store in Osaka in March 1996 and began his 23-year career in Uniqlo. He started his work at the bottom stores, participated in production, commodities, retail and other departments, and then became an important member of the early team of Uniqlo to explore the mainland and Taiwan markets. In recent years, he has become the global executive director of Fast Retail Group. He has successively served as COO of Uniqlo China, CEO of Taiwan and Uniqlo Korea. National CEO and other positions.
Qian Wei’s Resume
With the advent of Qian Wei, it is easy to think of Jin Zhenjun, a professional manager in Li Ning Company who held similar positions. The Korean-American who led Daphne out of the quagmire began to take over Li Ning’s business with Li Ning himself in mid-2012, and was appointed acting CEO in March 2014.
During the three years in charge of Li Ning Company, Jin Zhenjun failed to achieve the expected goals. It was not until the end of 2014 that Li Ning returned to the company’s first-line management with the mission of “fire fighting”, that he led Li Ning to complete the retail transformation and re-enter the high-speed ascent channel in the past five years.
However, compared with Jin Zhenjun seven years ago, Qian Wei’s current situation is very different.
First, unlike the severe recession caused by the inventory crisis sweeping across the industry in 2012, Li Ning Company is now in an ideal period of rise.
After the gradual completion of the retail transformation, Li Ning has become the representative of the “national tide” with the “popular” Li Ning Series in early 2018, and it is showing off in terms of topic, attention and sales. In the eight months since 2019, Li Ning’s share price has risen by about 180% – from HK$8.25 at the beginning of the year to HK$23.15 (closing price on August 30), and has experienced a peak of HK$24.15 in nearly nine years. In the first half of 2019, Li Ning’s revenue grew by 32.7%, reaching 6.255 billion yuan. Shareholders’net profit should soar by 196% to 795 million yuan.
So far in 2019, Li Ning’s share price has risen by about 180%.
In addition, in the supply chain, commodities, store operations, brand, channel management and control and other retail capabilities, Li Ning Company has improved in recent years in an all-round way. Compared with Jin Zhenjun, Qian Wei began to work in “prosperity” and had more time to adapt and adjust.
Secondly, Li Ning himself did not leave the front-line management, and according to their respective strengths and Qian Wei has a clear division of labor.
As the founder and brand co-celebrity, Li Ning is a worthy spiritual leader and the best leader of Li Ning Company. He will continue to control the direction of the company at the strategic level. Qian Wei can concentrate on his own advantages first. They have a clear division of labor and give full play to their respective advantages.
Qian Wei has management experience of many links in the whole industry chain of clothing brand – supply chain, commodities, production, operation, market and so on. More importantly, as an important member of the team, we have the experience of exploring the market in mainland China and Taiwan. In addition, as a long-term Chinese-American manager in Greater China, he has a deep understanding of the whole Chinese and East Asian market.
Over the past few years, Uniqlo has been developing rapidly in Greater China. In the third quarter of fiscal year 2019, the operating profit of mainland China increased by more than 20%. Among them, retail operations, online and offline access, as well as inventory, cost and supply chain management has always been a laudable place for Uniqlo.
In recent years, the growth of the same stores and the efficiency of the stores are one of the most critical data in the sporting goods industry – compared with the growth of the number of stores, the promotion of the sales of single stores is more valued. These are the advantages of Uniqlo as the world’s top consumer brand, and will also be an important point for Qian Wei to play after joining Li Ning.
At the same time, Qian Wei’s experience of joint name, fashion products and explosive money creation in Uniqlo can also play a role under the Li Ning brand.
However, Qian Wei, who spent almost his entire career in Uniqlo, will also face many different challenges in Li Ning.
By the end of July 2018, Uniqlo had 620 stores in mainland China, less than a tenth of Li Ning’s. In other words, compared with Uniqlo, Li Ning is more “sinking” in the vast China. In addition to the first-and second-tier cities, the lower-tier market is also an important source of income for Li Ning, and is the most competitive region among national brands. This requires Qian Wei to face a broader and cruel Chinese consumer market.

In addition, Uniqlo’s characteristics are to reduce SKU and only make basic items, while the sports goods industry needs to meet the needs of different scenarios of sports consumption function, its annual research and development, the promotion of commodities each season have very high requirements, there are some differences between the two.
The most critical point is that Qian Wei had no previous experience in sports goods. How to combine his own advantages with the Chinese sports goods market is the most important test. At the same time, as an airborne executive, how to quickly get the recognition of the existing management and staff, establish effective communication, and ensure adequate implementation of the strategy are all the problems Qian Wei needs to face.
It is precisely because of these risks and challenges that Li Ning herself chose to remain in the front line of management, and to serve as co-CEO is even more necessary. He will support Qian Wei’s management and work for senior and middle managers, and take charge of the overall direction of the company’s future development.
Compared with other domestic sports brands, Li Ning started the professional manager model as early as 1998. Even in recent years, Li Ning has “had to” undertake the main management of the company, and has never stopped looking for a successor. Even in an interview with Lazy Bear Sports in January this year, Li Ning emphasized that his position in the company is also “professional manager”.
2020 is an important node for the 30th anniversary of Li Ning Company. The appointment of Li Ning as Co-CEO and Qian Wei as Co-CEO may be regarded as an important symbol of Li Ning himself and Li Ning Company initiatively opening a new stage of development.
For Li Ning Company, which expects all departments and all aspects of the company to have systems and talents to ensure the steady and smooth development of the enterprise, how to make good use of professional managers like Qian Wei is also an important step to further realize its professionalization.
Although in the outside world, Li Ning has always been an indispensable manager and spiritual leader of Li Ning Company. But in the past five years or even the past 21 years, he has been laying down a number of “preventive shots” for the company’s “de-Li Ninghua” – and now it is time for these “preventive shots” to start showing results slowly.
This article is from Wechat Public No. ID: Langxiong Sports. Author: Liu Nanqi. The cover is from the original text.