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Senior Grab executives quit as company rejigs unit to stem losses

(Source: Bigstock)

Two top executives at Grab Holdings’ fintech business have quit, adding to other senior departures in recent months, as the Southeast Asian ride-hailing and delivery firm rejigs the key unit at the loss-making group, two sources said.

Chris Yeo, who heads Grab’s payments and rewards business and has been with the company for nearly six years, is leaving along with Jeffrey Goh, who leads the payments gateway business, the sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Both Yeo and Goh worked at the Grab Financial Group’s GrabFin unit, which provides digital payments, financing, insurance, rewards, and wealth management services, and is an important plank of Grab’s regional growth strategy.

The latest executive departures come as Grab’s losses rose to US$3.6 billion in 2021 from $2.7 billion a year earlier, while revenue rose 44 per cent, with investors focusing on how the firm plans to stem losses.

Grab narrowed its loss in the first quarter.

Since listing on Nasdaq in December after a record $40 billion merger with a blank check firm, Grab’s shares have shed three-quarters of their value against a backdrop of plunging tech stocks and its continued losses.

“Many business groups within GrabFin have been put on notice with significant performance metrics,” said one of the sources. “There’s an intense focus on getting to profitability.”

Yeo and Goh, managing directors at Grab, which counts SoftBank Group Corp’s Vision Fund and Uber as its biggest shareholders, are serving their notice periods, said the sources, declining to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

The news of their exits and the rejig at GrabFin has not been made public previously.

Inside Retail can also report that Grab’s Vietnam MD Nguyen Thai Hai Van resigned in March and was scheduled to finish last month.

The departures at GrabFin come a month after Grab’s head of lending, former banker Ankur Mehrotra, who played a key role in the fintech unit’s expansion, quit after a six-year stint.

This year, one of Grab’s senior tech executives also departed to lead a cryptocurrency gaming firm, while Grab’s head of insurance and wealth left to form a startup.

Grab declined to comment specifically on the executives’ departures. There was no immediate response from Yeo and Goh to a Reuters query.

In an email response to Reuters, Grab said it was focused on expanding its regional fintech ecosystem and saw significant opportunity in Southeast Asia across all its businesses.

It said its fintech operations would now be led by its country teams.

GROWTH POTENTIAL

Grab last week forecast a rebound in its mainstay ride-share and food delivery businesses as Southeast Asian economies recover from a pandemic-led slump.

Anthony Tan, Grab’s co-founder and CEO, told analysts that Grab was driving towards profitability through disciplined cost management.

GrabFin was streamlining its regional and country teams with a view to focus on lucrative areas, the sources said. One of the sources said the company was seeking to cut losses in the many areas GrabFin operated in.

Grab, which operates in 480 cities in eight countries in Southeast Asia, has more than five million registered drivers and two million-plus merchants on its platform. The company sees GFG as a business with huge growth potential.

Grab’s regional digital banking business, which includes a digital banking joint venture in Singapore and Malaysia, is also part of GFG. Grab also acquired a minority stake in an Indonesian bank this year.

  • Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Stephen Coates, of Reuters.

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