JD.com general counsel resigns days after CTO steps down

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Long Yu, General Counsel and former Chief Human Resources Officer, JD.com (Image credit: JD.com).

JD.com is seeing a round of shake-ups on its management team. Long Yu, the company’s legal head, announced her resignation on her WeChat Moments on Wednesday, the second key executive departing from the company in a matter of days, reported Chinese media Jiemian.

Long cited family reasons for her departure, saying that she hopes to spend more time with her daughter who is in college, Jiemian quoted her as saying. Long also said that her departure would provide an opportunity to younger employees to take the company forward.

Long joined JD.com in 2012 as head of human resources and general counsel, and is known for her role in establishing and running the company’s talent system. The Chinese e-commerce giant has ballooned to nearly 180,000 employees, according to Jiemian, from 8,000 in 2012. A former executive at the Hong Kong-based telecommunications company Utstarcom, Long met JD.com founder Richard Liu during her EMBA studies at China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in 2009.

The news of Long’s departure comes just four days after JD.com announced that its chief technology officer (CTO) Zhang Chen would be leaving due to family reasons. The former Yahoo vice president has been credited with bringing the company’s technological structure back on track. JD.com’s technological capabilities vastly improved after Zhang joined the company in 2015, according to Chinese media, citing several system outages during its 618 shopping festival in mid-June 2012.

The Chinese e-commerce giant is undergoing a round of reshuffling with plans to cut the lowest-performing 10% of executives in 2019, as pressure from rivals mount. Despite a slowing economy, Alibaba reported 40% year-on-year top-line growth for its core e-commerce business in its financial quarter ended Dec. 31, 2018. JD reported year-on-year growth of 22.4% for net revenue during the same time period. The company does not disclose gross revenue figures.

Another rival, Pinduoduo, grew explosively in 2018 with revenue skyrocketing 652% compared with a year earlier. Analysts expect the Shanghai-based social e-commerce firm to catch up to Alibaba in active user base size in 2023, and surpass JD.com a year later in terms of average user spending, according to a report by Swiss investment bank UBS released earlier this month.