In what could be a significant development in Southeast Asia’s technology and business landscape, ride-hailing and food delivery giant Grab is reportedly gearing up for its largest-ever round of layoffs, as per a Bloomberg report. The move comes amid escalating market competition and investor pressure, posing fresh challenges for the regional super-app. This report is based on information provided by Marketing Interactive.
The exact scale of the layoffs remains undisclosed, but they are expected to exceed the 5% staff reduction Grab underwent in 2020, translating to approximately 360 employees. This decision seems to be a direct response to the intensifying rivalry, especially from Indonesia’s GoTo Group, and a notable 70% slump in Grab’s shares since its debut on the New York Stock Exchange in late 2021.
Despite concerted efforts to capture the rebound in mobility demand, optimise costs, reduce its cost-to-serve, and introduce innovative products and services, Grab continues to grapple with market pressures. The tech firm’s focus on enhancing user engagement and loyalty within its ecosystem, articulated by Anthony Tan, Grab’s Group CEO and Co-founder, during the Q4 2022 earnings call, is yet to bear significant fruits.
According to various media reports, the proposed layoffs are indicative of Grab’s mounting investor pressure to accelerate cost-cutting measures. It’s worth noting that Grab’s pace in trimming expenses has lagged behind rivals like GoTo and SEA, both of whom executed mass layoffs in the previous year.
In another crucial development, Grab’s Co-founder, Tan Hooi Ling, is slated to step down from her operational roles within the company by year-end. As per Grab’s official statement, Tan will transition into an advisory capacity, simultaneously relinquishing her Board of Directors membership, a role she has held since the company’s public listing in December 2021.
Tan, who co-founded Grab with Anthony Tan in 2012, has made significant contributions in leading various operational and technology teams. Even though Alex Hungate replaced her as COO in January 2022, Tan continues to spearhead Grab’s technology organization, mentoring future tech leaders, including Suthen Thomas, Grab’s Group CTO, and Philipp Kandal, its Chief Product Officer.
This news is based on a report from Marketing Interactive.