Farfetch: founder José Neves resigns amid restructuring plans

José Neves resigns as CEO of Farfetch. His departure comes as the luxury e-commerce platform he founded in 2007 was acquired less than a month ago by the South Korean group Coupang, creating internal dissension and a series of departures.


José Neves leaves the helm of Farfetch, the global flagship of luxury e-commerce, to hand over the reins to the founder of Coupang. The South Korean group bought the platform last December, saving the company in extremis from bankruptcy thanks to a $500 million bridging loan, a fraction of its actual valuation. The emblematic executive is not leaving Farfetch altogether, however, and will continue in a consultancy role for the Coupang e-commerce giant, according to WWD.


His departure comes at a time when other Farfetch executives – including the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Product Officer, Chief Platform Officer, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Operations Officer – are planning to leave the company.


The end of an era


The end of the Neves era is signaled by a simple internal memo discovered on February 15, by staff from Farfetch’s new owner, South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang, according to which José Neves is stepping down as CEO while continuing his relationship with the platform as a consultant for the group.


A Coupang spokesperson later told the press “After careful consideration, we have decided to streamline the business to enable us to operate from a position of financial strength“. It also says “this process has involved some difficult decisions, but ones that are necessary for our future success”.


The memo states that Coupang CEO Bom Kim and a team of Farfetch executives will remain at the helm of the company during this period, while further redundancies are imminent.


There is no doubt about the fate of serial entrepreneur and company founder José Neves, who has until now been CEO of the platform, but who will not yet be directly replaced.


Partners on the move


Farfetch’s new management team has not only created an uproar among its executives, but also among its business partners.


Some of them have announced that they are severing their ties, or are about to do so. Such is the case of the Neiman Marcus group, which has already given up using Farfetch Platforms Solutions for its Bergdorf Goodman department store. Its proprietary e-commerce software also counts Harrods, Chanel and Thom Browne among its prominent customers.


Kering is also terminating its contract with Farfetch for listing and shipping orders from its warehouses. The group then intends to gradually withdraw its brands during the second quarter of the year.


A (too) ambitious vision


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Featured Photo: © Farfetch

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Victor Gosselin
Victor Gosselin is a journalist specializing in luxury, HR, tech, retail, and editorial consulting. A graduate of EIML Paris, he has been working in the luxury industry for 9 years. Fond of fashion, Asia, history, and long format, this ex-Welcome To The Jungle and Time To Disrupt likes to analyze the news from a sociological and cultural angle.

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