Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling to exit her operational roles

Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling currently leads the company's technology and corporate strategy teams, and previously served as operating chief until 2022. PHOTO: GRAB

SINGAPORE – Grab Holdings co-founder Tan Hooi Ling is stepping down from her operational roles by the end of 2023, more than a decade after she helped start the Singapore-based ride-hailing and food delivery company.

Ms Tan, 39, will also give up her seat on the board, although she will remain an adviser to the company, according to an internal memo sent to employees on Thursday and seen by Bloomberg News.

She currently leads Grab’s technology and corporate strategy teams, and previously served as operating chief until 2022.

Her exit leaves chief executive Anthony Tan steering the company without his co-founder as it fights to reverse years of losses. Last week, its shares fell the most in more than a year after the company reported slowing spending by customers grappling with a higher rate of inflation and rising interest rates.

The two Tans, who are not related, founded Grab in 2012. Ms Tan then left briefly to work at other companies in the United States before rejoining Grab in April 2015. She led various operations and technology teams, and has also served as a member of Grab’s board since its stock market debut in the US in December 2021.

In the memo to staff, Mr Tan said he wholeheartedly supports his co-founder’s decision to “pursue her personal passions at this time”.

A succession plan has been in place for some time, he added.

Grab is battling intensifying competition in South-east Asia’s ride-hailing and delivery markets, with the contenders luring customers with promotions and lower prices.

Grab has been slower to reduce expenses than regional competitors – as Singapore’s Sea and Indonesia’s GoTo Group eliminated thousands of jobs in 2022, Grab refrained from mass layoffs.

The company has predicted it can reach break-even on an adjusted basis in the last quarter of 2023. While it reported a narrower quarterly loss last week, its customers are spending less on the platform than analysts expected. In the first quarter, its net loss narrowed to US$244 million (S$330 million) from US$423 million a year earlier. BLOOMBERG

SPH Brightcove Video
Co-founder of Grab, Tan Hooi Ling, talks about the impact of Grab and shares her vision for the company.

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