Chen Liang, senior vice president of Meituan and member of the S-team, the highest decision-making body, has recently resigned from his position. In fact, in the past year, Chen has gradually faded out of the daily operation and management of the Chinese food delivery giant, and no longer participates in any specific operations, local media outlet 36Kr reported on February 27.
As early as the end of January last year, a person close to Chen Liang said, “Chen has been preparing for retirement for more than half a year”. Chen and Wang Xing, CEO of Meituan, are junior and senior high school classmates. In 2011, after Taofang.com, a real estate trading platform founded by Wang Huiwen and Chen, was acquired by Meituan, more than ten people, including Chen and Wang joined Meituan.
During his 12 year stint at Meituan Chen has been responsible for mobile, travel and hotel, fresh grocery and community group buying. In the community group buying trend that started in the second half of 2020, Meituan was the last one to enter the market. However, he established a team of nearly 10,000 people in a short time and subsequently challenged the giants, such as Didi and Pinduoduo, already in the market.
When Pinduoduo and Didi crazily seized market share by relying on low prices, Chen repeatedly stressed internally that “the essence of community group buying is retail, and the supply chain and order fulfillment skill should be laid well first.” Until now, the product quality and order fulfillment skills of Meituan have been widely recognized.
In October, 2021, Meituan integrated the businesses of community group buying with two other similar sectors and set up a new team with Chen as the team’s leader. However, three months later, Chen handed over this responsibility to Guo Wanhuai, vice president of Meituan. After Guo took over, the community group buying business entered an adjustment period. Meituan successively withdrew from several outlets with poor performance, and completed several rounds of layoffs.
Chen is the fourth member of the S-team that has left his post in recent years, after Wang Huiwen, co-founder of Meituan, Guo Bin and Liu Lin, senior vice presidents of the firm.
Before Wang retired, Meituan had started to set up a department to train the next iteration of senior and middle managers, including their selection and transfer, evaluation and incentives. However, with the gradual departure of the older generation of executives, the talent system of Meituan is now lacking new candidates.
As Chen has now left his post, Meituan is faced with a competitive environment with that of Douyin particularly making an impact on Meituan‘s business. At the beginning of this year, the Meituan staff responsible for the catering business began an intensive front-line analysis of the situation.