Meet the man leading Alibaba’s high-priority Southeast Asia expansion

Pierre Poignant, chief executive officer and co-founder of Lazada Group SA, poses for a photograph in Hong Kong, China, on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. Photographer: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg

In December, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. put Pierre Poignant in charge of Lazada, the subsidiary spearheading the Chinese e-commerce giant’s high-stakes Southeast Asia expansion. The choice was out of character for several reasons. Poignant is a professional manager—a type Alibaba supremo Jack Ma has long disdained. He was part of Lazada’s founding team, also typically disqualifying. Finally, as a Frenchman, he’s one of a very few Westerners to have cracked Alibaba’s upper echelons.

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