E-commerce player Jumia appoints a new CEO for Kenyan operation

By our News Team | 2023

Widely experienced executive Charles Ballard takes up the reins after holding various senior positions with the company.

Pan-African e-commerce company Jumia has announced the appointment of Charles Ballard as the new CEO of its Kenyan operation. He replaces Juan Seco, who departed after eight years to join Mukuru, the Africa-focused fintech company.

Ballard joined Jumia in 2019 and has previously served as Head of Performance and Planning, Chief Operating Officer, and as Senior Vice President – Commercials for the company.

Executive Appointments

Photo credit: Jumia

“I am excited to continue driving the e-commerce narrative in rural Kenya, where more than 70% of the population lives,” Ballard said.

“Access to Modern Retail is a challenge in these areas, which is a great opportunity to grow our online marketplace. E-commerce can bring better prices, more choices and convenience to the rural Kenyans.”

Before joining Jumia, he was a retail consultant at Sagaci Research in Kenya from 2015 to 2019, working on retail and e-commerce projects across more than 15 African countries.

Kenyan-based executive with an NGO

He has also been a Kenyan-based executive with the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (commonly known as ACTED), a French humanitarian non-governmental organisation.

Ballard holds a master’s degree from the ESSEC Business School (France) and a BSc in International Development from the London School of Economics.

Jumia is a key player in the continent’s e-commerce space and is sometimes known as the ‘Amazon of Africa’ due to its involvement in more than a dozen countries.

But the going has not been easy and its once-aggressive expansion strategy has been pared back as it continues to make losses and the share price struggles after coming off a high in early 2021.

There has been a management shakeup and a cost-cutting drive which has included retrenchments and exiting unprofitable segments like logistics-as-a-service and grocery delivery. It has also struggled with supply chain problems and foreign currency fluctuations.