Farfetch founder and CEO José Neves, along with other key members of the leadership team, is rumored to be stepping down as a result of the company’s acquisition by South Korea’s Coupang. Although there has been no official announcement, an internal memo suggests that Neves, Chief Fashion and Merchandising Officer Elizabeth Von Der Goltz, and Head of Farfetch Platform Solutions Kelly Kowal will be departing. This move is part of Coupang’s effort to streamline the business and refocus on its core strength as a luxury marketplace.

According to reports from both WWD and Business of Fashion, Neves will continue to be involved in the business as a consultant, while Coupang founder Bom Kim and the remaining Farfetch executive team will take on operational responsibilities. As Coupang works to optimize Farfetch’s operations, further job cuts are anticipated.

José Neves founded Farfetch in 2008 and successfully capitalized on the growing trend of online luxury sales. The company thrived during the pandemic, benefiting from the closure of brick-and-mortar stores like other e-commerce platforms. However, the unexpected resurgence of physical retail in the post-pandemic era caught Farfetch off guard.

Critics argue that Farfetch’s expansion into non-core areas, including the acquisition of New Guards Group and the launch of a beauty division (which was later discontinued), strained the company. Shareholders grew impatient with the lack of sustained profitability, and the company encountered significant challenges in the latter half of last year.

Farfetch’s ambitious plan to acquire Richemont’s Yoox Net-A-Porter was progressing well until it was recently canceled. Despite exiting the beauty sector in August, the company showed progress in key metrics. However, in December, reports surfaced that Farfetch was in urgent talks to secure funding due to a cash shortage. The acquisition by Coupang was announced in December and completed last month.

José Neves stepping down as CEO is a common occurrence for founders who have experienced rapid growth, faced significant challenges, and undergone a takeover. New majority owners often seek changes in leadership to implement their own strategies.

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