Grab is reportedly preparing for its biggest round of layoffs since the pandemic, according to a report by Bloomberg. The layoffs come as the company faces increasing competition in ride-hailing and meal delivery across the region.
While the numbers have not been officially revealed, Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that it would likely surpass its 2020 layoffs which saw staff numbers shrink by 5% or about 360 employees.
Grab is currently facing stiff competition from competitors just as Indonesia’s GoTo Group and its shares have slumped approximately 70% since it made its stock-market debut in New York in late 2021. This is despite its recent attempts to capture the rebound in mobility demand, optimise its costs, reduce its cost-to-serve and innovate products and services that drive stickiness and engagement within its ecosystem, according to Anthony Tan, group chief executive officer and co-founder of Grab who was commenting on Grab’s Q4 2022 earnings in February this year.
Media reports suggest that the cuts indicate that Grab is succumbing to investor pressure to reduce costs at a faster rate particularly as it has been slower to cut expenses as compared to its competitors such as GoTo and SEA who both conducted mass layoffs last year.
The news comes shortly after it was revealed that Grab’s co-founder, Tan Hooi Ling, will be stepping down from her active roles at the company and that she will see her position transition into an advisory role by the end of the year, according to Grab in a statement.
This transition will also see her stepping down from her role as a member of Grab’s Board of Directors, a position she has held since the company’s public listing in December 2021.
Tan co-founded Grab with Anthony Tan, the company’s group CEO, in 2012, and worked at other companies in the US before rejoining Grab in April 2015.
In her role, Tan led various operations and technology teams as COO until the appointment of Alex Hungate in January 2022. She currently leads Grab’s technology organization and is mentoring the next generation of technology leaders, including Suthen Thomas, Grab’s group chief technology officer, and Philipp Kandal, its chief product officer.