Lucy Peng to Step Down as CEO of Alibaba's Lazada

Lucy Peng in New York at a forum in 2017.

Lucy Peng in New York at a forum in 2017.


Photo:

European Pressphoto Agency

BEIJING—Longtime

Alibaba Group Holding
Ltd.


BABA -0.01%

executive Lucy Peng is stepping down as chief executive of the e-commerce giant’s Lazada Group after nine months on the job, as the company faces growing competition in Southeast Asia.

Ms. Peng, a co-founder of Alibaba, has been replaced by Executive President Pierre Poignant, the company said Thursday in a statement. She will stay on as executive chairman.

The change in assignment is the latest for Ms. Peng, who previously served as chief executive of Ant Financial Services Group, a fintech powerhouse, and comes in the midst of a shake-up in senior management positions as founder Jack Ma plans to step aside as executive chairman. Ms. Peng took over Lazada in March after Alibaba sunk $2 billion into the company, doubling its investment.

The investment—and Ms. Peng’s appointment—underscored the importance of Southeast Asia for Alibaba, which sees the region as critical now that its growth in China is slowing. During Alibaba’s annual shopping extravaganza known as Singles Day this year, Lazada rolled out its first Nov. 11 sales campaign in six Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam and Thailand.

Singapore-based Lazada is trying to fend off competitors who are becoming more aggressive in Southeast Asia. Online retailer

JD.com
Inc.

and

Tencent Holdings
Ltd.

are racing to capture a slice of the region’s consumers. Tencent is backing

Sea Holdings
Ltd.

, the operator of popular e-commerce platform Shopee.

Amazon.com
Inc.

also launched its Prime Now delivery service in Singapore last year.

Mr. Poignant, a Lazada veteran, has served in a variety of roles since 2012 including chief operating officer. In the statement Thursday, he called 2018 “a turning point” for the company.

Write to Shan Li at shan.li@wsj.com