Chi Forest Co-Founder Lu Jiao Replaced as Product Leader

Lu Jiao, the co-founder of Chinese beverage firm Chi Forest, has reportedly relinquished her previous role as product leader. An employee referred to in domestic media simply by the name Nicolas, who joined the company in early 2022 and became the head of international business, will now be in charge of beverages like carbonated water, electrolyte water, and diet tea, LatePost reported on December 21.

An insider said that Lu has not yet determined her new project, but it is certain that she is not about to leave the company, which was previously known as Genki Forest. According to an organizational structure adjustment notice issued at the end of November, Lu will cooperate with founder Tang Binsen to break through new projects.

In 2016, Lu joined Chi Forest and hatched several of its most successful products like carbonated water, diet tea, milk tea and so on. Lu was Tang Binsen’s investment assistant before joining Chi Forest. At that time, the firm invested more than 40 million yuan ($5,732,548) on drinks but failed to produce products that met expectations. Lu offered to try, and Tang agreed, saying, “Don’t worry about business model and cost. Just produce beverages that you want to drink.” It was in such a relaxed environment that Lu tried erythritol and made the carbonated water recipe.

Tang said in an interview at the end of last year that Chi Forest will return to being a traditional company in 2022, which does not require two or three times annual growth. In the next few years, it can maintain annualized growth of about 50%, but even this goal has not been achieved yet.

For a long time, Chi Forest has been trying out new products through “AB tests,” pays significant attention to data. Product managers are responsible for the design, marketing and brand-building of the beverages. According to sources, brand managers will now play a leading role, not product managers.

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Lu’s business scope change is one of the monthly adjustments of Chi Forest. In addition, an information technology center was newly established to improve the management and business operation efficiency, a new brand department with several studios has also been set up.

According to TMTPOST‘s report, Chi Forest may be undergoing a new round of structure adjustments in several key ways, such as multi-brand development, the combination of an internet spirit with traditional offline channels and distributor partners, and building a food enterprise that makes consumers feel satisfied.

Tina Zhang, the chief human resources officer of Chi Forest, said that reducing costs and increasing efficiency on the organizational side is the focus of Chi Forest’s work in 2022. The company needs to upgrade from divergent development to a relatively orderly development pattern.