Honestbee overhauls management team, appoints new COO

Retail start-up Honestbee was recently granted a four-month reprieve from creditors, who are owed in excess of $280 million. It has since made plans to pay off some of its debt. ST PHOTO: CHOO YUN TING
Retail start-up Honestbee was recently granted a four-month reprieve from creditors, who are owed in excess of $280 million. It has since made plans to pay off some of its debt. ST PHOTO: CHOO YUN TING

Distressed start-up Honestbee has introduced a host of changes to its management team, as the company continues its restructuring efforts.

The appointments were effective as of Oct 1, Honestbee said in a statement yesterday.

In an interview with The Straits Times earlier this month, Honestbee chief executive Ong Lay Ann, 46, who took over the reins in mid-July, said appointing a new finance head and restructuring the management team were among the firm's priorities.

One of the key changes announced yesterday was the appointment of a new chief operating officer, Mr Varian Lim, 40. Mr Lim, who joined the firm in 2015, was previously its chief of staff.

He is in charge of implementing better business practices and securing the functionality of Honestbee's business for sustainable growth, the firm said.

Mr Lim Yiak Tiam, 43, a chartered accountant, was appointed vice-president for finance. He joined the company last month as interim chief financial officer before his recent appointment, where he is responsible for several functions including audit and accounting.

Mr Ong said earlier: "Part of the issues we had previously was that internal processes weren't done well. When you build a company to a certain scale, if you don't actually have your proper processes and systems, you're just going to collapse like a house of cards."

In a statement yesterday, he said: "I have specifically put together a diverse team so that the unique experience of each individual will contribute strongly to the restructuring efforts."

DIFFERENT TALENTS

I have specifically put together a diverse team so that the unique experience of each individual will contribute strongly to the restructuring efforts.

MR ONG LAY ANN, Honestbee's chief executive.

He noted that most of the new team members have been promoted from within the firm.

Other additions to the team included vice-presidents for corporate strategy, regional growth, and Honestbee's physical retail store Habitat.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2019, with the headline 'Honestbee overhauls management team, appoints new COO'. Print Edition | Subscribe