co-founder Ning Li is stepping down as chief executive at the online furniture retailer with a view to setting up a new business.

Li, who co-founded the etailer in 2009, will hand over the reins to Made chief operating officer Philippe Chainieux in January.

Speaking to Retail Week today, Li said: “The time is here to make a change and it’s good to do it while you have a strong tailwind.”

He said it had “always been my and the board’s intention to promote Philippe”.

Made, whose chairman is ex-Supergroup executive Susanne Given, reported a 44% jump in group sales in its last full-year to £61.6m, but its losses widened.

The company said that Li will remain a “major” shareholder of Made and will be involved on a “strategic” level as vice-chairman.

Li, who set up Made with co-founder Brent Hoberman, said this will “allow me time to start something new”.

Staying in start-ups

Looking ahead he said: “I have about list of 30-40 projects that I’ve not had time to look at yet. I’ll probably stay in the start-up space.

“There’s nothing concrete on the table, but maybe in about a year to 18 months, the time will come. But I have no intention of competing with my own business.”

Li said his priority will be “making sure the succession is a success”.

Chainieux joined Made three years ago as managing director and has overseen the etailer’s European expansion into France, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Made’s expansion has been helped by a £40m funding round last year led by venture capital group Partech and backed by London-based Eight Roads, formerly Fidelity Growth Partners Europe.

On his successor, Chainieux, Li said: “He is the right person to carry on the original vision of Made. He lives and breathes the DNA of the business.”