Jumia’s revolving door: Why can’t the e-commerce giant keep a CEO?

Jumia's revolving door - Why can't the e-commerce giant keep a CEO

Jumia, one of Africa’s largest e-commerce platforms, has seen yet another CEO departure, raising concerns about the company’s ability to retain top executives.

Charles Ballard has been named as the new CEO for Jumia’s Kenyan operations, replacing Juan Seco, who held the position for only eight months. This marks the third CEO change at Jumia in less than two years, with Betty Mwangi holding the position for only a year before being replaced by Seco.

The frequent CEO changes at Jumia have led some to speculate about potential issues within the company. Questions have arisen regarding the firm’s ability to keep its executives happy, satisfied, and aligned with its business objectives.

The departures of previous CEOs could suggest that there is a deeper problem within the company that has not yet been addressed.

Despite these concerns, Jumia remains committed to expanding its e-commerce activities in Kenya, where over 70% of the population lives in rural areas. Ballard, the newly appointed CEO, aims to drive e-commerce in these rural areas, seeing it as an opportunity to grow the online marketplace and provide better prices, more choices, and convenience to rural Kenyans.

According to Jumia, Ballard’s experience makes him the ideal candidate for the role. He joined Jumia in 2019 as Head of Performance and Planning before being promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2021.

Ballard was responsible for expanding and deploying Jumia’s e-commerce activities in Kenya, which contributed to the company’s market share growth.

Before joining Jumia, Ballard worked as a retail consultant at Sagaci Research in Kenya from 2015 to 2019 and as the Deputy CFO at ACTED, an international humanitarian NGO, from 2012 to 2015. Jumia’s appointment of Ballard comes as the company is looking to strengthen its position as the leading e-commerce platform in Kenya.

The spotlight is now on Jumia to prove that the revolving door of CEOs is not a sign of deeper issues within the company. Whether the firm can address concerns and maintain its leadership in the e-commerce space remains to be seen.