New Honestbee interim CEO Brian Koo, whose family controls LG, to replace co-founder Joel Sng

Mr Brian Koo, Honestbee's interim CEO and board chairman, said in an e-mail to employees that he will be working with his executive team to conduct an in-depth review of the business. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Grocery and delivery start-up Honestbee chief executive and co-founder Joel Sng has stepped down from the company, and Mr Brian Koo, whose family controls LG, one of South Korea's largest companies, will take over as its interim CEO and board chairman.

Mr Sng sent an e-mail on Thursday (May 2) to employees announcing his intention to resign, The Straits Times has learnt. He wrote that it was time for him to "make way for someone who can bring our company to the next level". The change will take effect on Thursday.

Mr Sng said that Honestbee needs a reset and to place greater focus on its customers, partners and contractors.

Mr Koo said in an e-mail to employees that he will be working with his executive team to conduct an in-depth review of the business.

Mr Sng said that Mr Koo was Honestbee's earliest supporter and key investor, adding that Mr Koo was instrumental in defining the company's purpose and mission from day one.

Mr Koo is a founding member of investment company Formation 8, which led Honestbee's $15 million Series A round in 2015, according to previous reports.

He also announced his new team: Mr Roger Koh as chief financial officer, Mr Victor Chow as chief operating officer, Mr Jonathan Low as chief technology officer and Mr Varian Lim as chief of staff. All are existing staff at Honestbee.

A TechCrunch report on Wednesday stated that Mr Sng had been fired from the start-up.

Citing "sources with knowledge of the matter", the report noted that Mr Sng had cleared his desk and vacated his office on Tuesday.

But Mr Sng had allegedly decried the article to be fake news and he sent an e-mail to employees stating that he was not someone who will "leave the company to be rudderless", according to Vulcan Post on Thursday.

"I am not an abandon ship person," Mr Sng had reportedly written, adding that "investors and board (members) are absolutely aligned on that".

Mr Sng co-founded Honestbee with two partners Isaac Tay and Jonathan Low in 2015.

Mr Tay had left the company in 2018, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The developments add to the woes that Honestbee had been facing. A company spokesman said earlier this week that Honestbee is suspending some of its operations in Asia and cutting its global headcount by 10 per cent as part of its ongoing strategic review.

The home-grown company will be stopping its services in Hong Kong and Indonesia and its food business in Thailand, and temporarily suspending its operations in Japan and the Philippines.

The review was necessary to help the company focus and align its regional business, he added.

Earlier media reports had stated that Honestbee is running low on funds.

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