One of Asia’s leading female entrepreneurs is stepping down from Grab, the ride-hailing company she helped found | CNN Business
One of Southeast Asia’s best-known businesswomen is stepping down from her operational roles at Grab, the public transport giant she helped found more than a decade ago.
Tan Hooi Ling, a former chief operating officer who currently leads the company’s technology and corporate strategy teams, will move into an advisory role later this year, the company said on Thursday. He will also resign his seat on the board.
Her departure leaves Grab CEO Anthony Tan with the difficult task of reversing years of losses amid increasingly fierce competition in the ride-hailing and food delivery markets, all without the help of the woman who helped him to co-found the company in 2012.
“Grab has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. The impact we create is a reflection of who we are as a team, and I’m honored to have been able to walk alongside Anthony and the many amazing Grabbers who share the same values and work ethic to build something that improves lives in Southeast Asia.” Tan Hooi Ling said in a company statement.
After being founded as a ride-hailing company by the two Tans, who are both from Malaysia but are not related, Grab quickly skyrocketed to become the most valuable private company in Southeast Asia. It acquired Uber’s Southeast Asian business in 2018 and has since expanded into a variety of other services, including food delivery, digital payments and even financial services.
But Grab has faced increasing competition from Southeast Asian rivals including Singapore’s Sea Ltd, Indonesia’s GoTo Group and Berlin-based Delivery Hero’s Foodpanda.
Grab, which unlike some of its competitors avoided mass layoffs during the coronavirus pandemic, posted an annual loss of $1.74 billion in 2022. That was a 51% improvement from the previous year, according to its annual report.
In 2021, the company merged with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, backed by Altimeter Capital in a deal that would pave the way for a listing in New York and value Grab at nearly $40 billion.
Before that, Grab had heavyweight backers including Japan’s SoftBank ( SFTBF ) and Chinese ride-hailing startup Didi Chuxing.