The Dubai-based global portal operator Emerging Marketplaces Group has today announced the appointment of former BlaBlaCar executive Julien Lafouge to the position of Chief Financial Officer.
The French long-distance ride-sharing company BlaBlaCar raised some $180 million, achieved breakeven and became a household name in many European countries during Lafouge's time at the company. Lafouge's experience in M&A will no doubt have been a factor in his appointment with the Engineering graduate having been instrumental in acquisition deals for his former employer in his native France as well as in Russia.
EMPG operates several leading portal brands across the MENA and Southeast Asian regions including Bayut and Dubizzle in the UAE, Zameen in Pakistan and Mubawab in North Africa.
The firm has expanded a lot over the last 18 months with the inclusion of Thai portal Kaidee a momentous deal with OLX Group and the acquisition of Lamudi Global all coming in the space of a couple of months in the spring of 2020. In his new role, the Ecole Central graduate will play a pivotal role in EMPG's expansion and growth strategies and will be central to any further M&A activity.
Speaking of his new CFO, EMPG's CEO Imran Ali Khan said:
“Julien has a tremendously successful track record with rapidly scaling enterprises, and we look forward to his addition to EMPG’s senior management as we consolidate our geographical footprint and continue our high-growth journey,”
while Lafouge said of his new role:
“I’m thrilled to join EMPG, which, thanks to its great teams around the world, possesses incredible potential and a very bright future. I’m looking forward to working with the teams in all the countries where EMPG operates, and contribute [sic] to the growth plans of the company."
After the three big acquisitions from last year, there has been sustained investment in growing EMPG brands in 2021. In January the company secured $150 million from OLX Group and since then has embarked on hiring drives. The first of these was for its Dubizzle and Bayut brands in the UAE with further hiring drives announced later in the year in the Philippines for the Lamudi brand and in North Africa for the Mubawab brand.