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By Su Nan
After Liu qiangdong faded out of the public eye, Jingdong launched the “iron triangle” to take charge of the pillar business, but now one person leaves and one person is far away from the front line, leaving Xu Lei with a seemingly stable position.
In the last 10 days of 2020, Liu qiangdong made two lightning adjustments to the leaders of Jingdong digital technology and Jingdong Logistics. The two senior officials either leave or stay away from the front line.
Since the founding of Zhongguancun, the team of Jingdong has entered the era of 4.0, but one thing has not changed, that is, under the governance of Liu qiangdong, Jingdong has never been “No.2”.
Business “plain” in charge of logistics and financial sector, it is difficult to compete with the division of tiger and wolf. Xu Lei seems to be as steady as a rock in Jingdong. If he leaves suddenly one day, it will not be surprising.
The iron triangle disintegrated after “cutting the vassal” twice
On December 30, 2020, Wang Zhenhui, CEO of Jingdong Logistics, announced his resignation for personal reasons.
Compared with Chen Shengqiang, the CEO of Jingdong Digital Technology Co., Ltd., who left his post not long ago but took the post of vice chairman and group chief of staff, Wang Zhenhui’s resignation is “naked”. Since Jingdong has not said that Wang Zhenhui has “another appointment”, there is no doubt that he will bid farewell to Jingdong 10 years later.
Because of the “Mingzhou incident” at the end of August 2018, Liu qiangdong was plagued with negative news, and the media reported the progress of the case from time to time, which forced Liu qiangdong to fade out of the public eye for a long time.
In January 2019, Liu qiangdong was rarely absent from the world economic forum in Davos, and Xu Lei, Chen Shengqiang and Wang Zhenhui made their collective debut for the first time.
In early 2019, Chen Shengqiang (first from left), Xu Lei (middle) and Wang Zhenhui appeared together.
This reveals an important signal to the outside world that Jingdong group, as a holding company, has become a climate with its retail, logistics and financial sectors as the three pillars. At the same time, Liu qiangdong, as the leader of the group, has three generals under his command to form an “iron triangle” pattern.
Although dada group and Jingdong health were listed earlier, dada group was not actually controlled by Jingdong, and Jingdong health was more like a business separated from Jingdong Mall, so CEO Kuai Jiaqi and Xin Lijun failed to form “five tigers” with “iron triangle”.
However, this pattern did not last long, and finally collapsed in the last 10 days of 2020.
On December 21, 2020, proposed by Jingdong group, it is proposed to report to the board of directors of Jingdong Digital Technology Co., Ltd. for approval, and appoint Chen Shengqiang as vice chairman of Jingdong Digital Technology Co., Ltd. and chief of staff of Jingdong group. Ten days later, Wang left.
In April 2010, he joined Lenovo Group as a senior executive. In April 2017, Jingdong group established Jingdong Logistics, and Wang Zhenhui, then senior vice president of Jingdong group and head of Jingdong Mall’s operation system, became the CEO of Jingdong Logistics. When he left, he took charge of Jingdong Logistics for about three and a half years.
Chen Shengqiang has been following Liu qiangdong for a long time. The reason for his resignation is that the listing of ant group has been suspended, the regulatory authorities have seriously rectified Internet finance, and Jingdong finance has been criticized for advertising in sensitive period for suspected discrimination. To be optimistic, Chen Shengqiang is rising and falling, or Liu qiangdong is protecting him in the storm. Although Jingdong Digital Technology Co., Ltd. submitted the prospectus, due to the change of the general environment, it seems that it also pressed the pause button in the listing process, which also provided more time for Liu qiangdong to rectify Jingdong Digital Technology Co., Ltd.
Wang Zhenhui left without warning. Behind the tacit understanding of “personal reasons” in the workplace is an unknown story. Is it because the development of logistics business is not up to expectations, or is it because of a serious disagreement with Liu qiangdong?
It is predicted that in 2021, Jingdong Logistics will also land in the capital market. As a senior manager, Wang Zhenhui has been working in Jingdong for more than 10 years. Even as the leader of the logistics sector, he has been at the helm for more than three years. Referring to Chen Shengqiang’s shareholding ratio of more than 4% in Jingdong Shuke, Wang Zhenhui originally obtained financial freedom with the help of logistics IPO.
Different from Ma Yun’s “drinking wine to release military power” to 18 Arhats after Alibaba’s B2B listing, Jingdong Logistics is planning to go public, Liu qiangdong is “cutting the vassal” at this time, and Wang Zhenhui fails to complete the bell ringing ceremony of going public, which is a highlight moment for employees, but also a failure of ambition.
Top 12 executives leave, team enters 4.0 Era
In more than 20 years of development history of Jingdong, its management team can be roughly divided into four times.
In the early days of Jingdong’s entrepreneurship, “more than a dozen people, seven or eight guns.” Liu qiangdong and his brothers engaged in business in Zhongguancun during busy hours, and ate meat and drank wine in idle hours. This is the era of Jingdong 1.0. In fact, it doesn’t need to be managed very much. Some things mainly depend on roaring.
Then external capital entered. With the help or request of capital, Jingdong actively introduced external brain to prepare for its expansion and listing. In the management team, except for Liu qiangdong, the CEO, all other “0” generation executives of Jingdong are introduced from the outside world. Jingdong management has entered the era of 2.0.
With the completion of listing, the financing channel of Jingdong group has been opened, and the cash flow is sufficient. For its business incubated for many years, Jingdong finance, Jingdong Logistics and Jingdong health have successively completed the separation, independent development, financing separately, and planning to be re listed.
Chen Shengqiang, Wang Zhenhui, Xin Lijun and Xu Lei, the CEOs of Jingdong retail, who are the leaders of each section of Jingdong, as one of the princes, are in charge of one business respectively, showing a “horse racing” trend, which also means that Jingdong management has entered the era of 3.0.
When Wang Zhenhui left, Chen Shengqiang was at least temporarily suspended. Yu Rui is in charge of Jingdong Logistics and Li Yayun is in charge of Jingdong digital branch. The two post-80s are on the front line of business management. At this time, Jingdong team has entered the era of 4.0.
This paper gives a general overview of the heavyweight executives who have left Jingdong in recent years, including Vice Chairman and Chief Strategic Officer (CSO) Zhao Guoqing, chief financial officer (CFO) Huang Xuande, chief operating officer (COO) Shen Haoyu, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Lan ye, chief technology officer (CTO) Zhang Chen and Chief Human Resources Officer (CHO) long Yu.
The changes of senior executives in Jingdong in recent years.
In this army of Jingdong “graduates”, there are also senior vice presidents Li Daxue, Wang Xiaosong, Hu Shengli, vice presidents Pei Jian, as well as newly joined Wang Zhenhui and Chen Shengqiang, a total of 12 heavyweight executives.
In 2019 and 2020 alone, eight top executives will leave.
“Plain man” is hard to fight against tiger and Wolf
Yu Rui, who took over as the CEO of Jingdong Logistics, was the former chief human resources officer of Jingdong. He was the post-80s generation dug up by Jingdong from guanpeisheng system. Li Yayun, who took over the post of CEO of Jingdong Digital Technology Co., Ltd., joined Jingdong group in December 2017 and successively held the posts of legal director, audit supervisor and Chief Compliance Officer of Jingdong group.
Two senior executives lead the human resources, and compliance and audit business are the support lines. Yu Rui and Li Yayun are also the two most trusted senior executives of Liu qiangdong.
Behind “most trust” is usually associated with “within a certain period of time”. During the honeymoon period, any senior executive may be the person Liu qiangdong trusts most.
This group of post-80s managers in Jingdong, represented by Guan Peisheng, had a white paper career before. Their growth was mainly in Jingdong. Jingdong impressed them. They also regarded Liu qiangdong as an idol and steered an independent business. They also focused on resolutely obeying 100% implementation, with little strategic thinking.
Moreover, the competition faced by the logistics and financial sectors is no weaker than that in the field of e-commerce. At the financial business end, Jingdong Digital Technology Co., Ltd. will fight against ant group; logistics dahonghai, three links and one access, Shunfeng, and Ali rookie network are all eyeing Jingdong Logistics.
Yu Rui and Li Yayun, the “plain people” in business, emphasize the values and culture of the company. They may be qualified, but in the face of the ever-changing business war, they are reluctant to make timely adjustments and even put forward valuable suggestions. Liu qiangdong is responsible for all the results, but does this not mean that Jingdong is still Liu qiangdong’s “one person Jingdong”?
Liu qiangdong put the post-80s generation in a more important position, or indicated to the outside world that he was in his prime of life, and there was no need to consider his successor at this time. Compared with Guan Peisheng’s generation, the old drivers in the workplace have rich experience, not the latter.
Mr. Liu and Mr. Wang have been arranged to step down. Let those who “engage in people” to “engage in affairs”. The special researcher of Wumian finance and economics would rather believe that this is the extraordinary move of Jingdong in an extraordinary period, rather than Liu qiangdong’s hot head and going black.
Jingdong’s respective moats are not as strong as expected, and “plain people” have been in command for a long time or buried hidden dangers.
The departure of Chen Shengqiang and Wang Zhenhui shows that Liu qiangdong firmly controls the company, and Jingdong has never had a “number two” person, nor does it need a “number two”.
There are at least three reasons for this analysis.
First of all, Jingdong Mall launched the rotating CEO system in July 2018, which is considered that Liu qiangdong intends to cultivate successors. It has been two and a half years since the introduction of the system. At present, only Xu Lei is in the “rotation” and no one else is “enjoying it”.
At first glance, the CEO rotation system of Jingdong is learning from Huawei. However, Huawei’s rotating time as chairman of the board is only one year, and Jingdong has not proposed the specific tenure of the rotating CEO. Without actual operation or clear rules, it can be considered that there is no system. In the eyes of the public, Jingdong is Liu qiangdong’s “YiYanTang”, which fits very well. In the future, who will take over Xu Lei is full of contingency, which is between Liu qiangdong’s thoughts.
Secondly, Jingdong group also made a formal apology after Jingdong Digital Division’s advertising discrimination. Wumian financial special researcher noted that in a short letter of more than 300 words, there were five exclamation marks. This is most likely from Liu qiangdong – if not by hand, by dictation. Otherwise, whether it’s the public relations department or the legal department of Jingdong group, who is qualified to “tell the tale” about the Jingdong digital technology that is planning to go public?
The Jingdong group apologized for the issue of Jingdong financial video advertising.
From this letter of apology, we can also judge that Liu qiangdong’s announcement of apology (also criticism) is his strong control over all sectors of Jingdong group.
Moreover, there are usually two kinds of people in the so-called “No. 2” company.
First, although he is an outsider, he has deep experience and is trusted by the founder, actual controller and even the whole company. For example, Liu Chiping, the current president of Tencent, or Cai Chongxin of Alibaba, who joined in 2005, and Zhang Yong, the current chairman and CEO of Tencent, who joined in August 2007;
Second, he was one of the founders of the company. He had a large number of shares and made great achievements all the way. The former means financial freedom, and continuing to work is a hobby or a sense of mission; the latter allows them to maintain authority in front of subordinates and company executives. For example, Wang Huiwen, the former senior vice president of meituan, although not known as the president, also has the status of “No.2”. Another example is Chen Lei, one of the founders and current CEO of pinduoduo.
But Xu Lei is not Jingdong’s “No. 2”, which is related to his position. There is no president at the level of Jingdong group. Xu Lei is now the CEO of Jingdong Mall, at the same level as Wang Zhenhui and Chen Shengqiang. Xu Lei, who joined Jingdong in 2009, once left Jingdong, and there was a gap in working with Liu qiangdong.
Xu Lei mainly promotes the development of Jingdong from the marketing level. Jingdong advertising is all over the world all year round. It’s easy to spend money. Jingdong’s strategy is not Xu leiqiang’s. In other words, other low-level executives who are also familiar with the marketing business can replace him at any time.
In the “iron triangle” of Xu, Chen and Wang in the past, Xu Lei was still on the job. The so-called company of a king was like a tiger. There was never a saying that he would sit firmly on Mount Tai. The “Three Outlooks” were all positive, and performance was also an important factor.
The market value of Jingdong has been overtaken by pinduoduo.
In recent years, the progress of Jingdong is obvious to all, but pinduoduo runs faster, and the number of active buyers has long surpassed Jingdong. A year ago, pinduoduo’s market value was US $8 billion less than that of JD. As of January 3, pinduoduo’s market value was US $80 billion higher than that of JD, and it was the second largest e-commerce company in the world. This is Xu Lei’s “three parts of an acre”.
Since there is no sign of Wang Zhenhui’s resignation due to “personal reasons”, what’s strange if Xu Lei resigns one day due to “physical reasons”?
(statement: This article only represents the author’s point of view, not Sina’s position.)