Jessica Goodfellow
May 3, 2019

Honestbee chief resigns amid business overhaul

Joel Sng, who co-founded the online grocery business in 2015, is leaving amidst reports the company is in financial turmoil.

Honestbee chief resigns amid business overhaul

Honestbee co-founder and chief executive Joel Sng has resigned from the company after a tumultuous few days in which the company confirmed it has cut 10% of its global headcount and dialled back operations in Asia.

Sng, who co-founded the online grocer in 2015 with Isaac Tay and Jonathan Low, will be replaced by interim chief executive and board chairman Brian Koo.

Koo is the founding managing partner of venture firm Formation Group, a key backer of Honestbee. He is also the grandson of Koo In-Hwoi, the founder of South Korean electronics giant LG.

Sng reportedly sent an email announcing his resignation to employees on Thursday (2 May), in which he wrote that it was time for him to "make way for someone who can bring our company to the next level", according to The Straits Times.

"Throughout our journey, we have experimented, succeeding in many aspects of the business, while making mistakes along the way. Not all choices turned out as hoped, and for this, I take responsibility... I have taken this business as far as I possibly can," he reportedly wrote.

Shortly after taking up the post, Koo named a new executive team consisting of Roger Koh as chief financial officer, Victor Chow as chief operating officer, Jonathan Low as chief technology officer and Varian Lim as chief of staff.

Sng’s resignation follows news announced earlier this week that Honestbee is to suspend some of its operations in Asia and cut its global headcount by 10% as part of an “ongoing strategic review”.

The Singapore-founded 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.

"This is necessary to help us focus and align our regional business, and more importantly, to enable us to better meet our customers' needs," an Honestbee spokesperson said.

Earlier media reports suggested Honestbee is running low on funds and has held early conversations with a range of potential buyers, including ride-hailing apps Grab and Go-Jek, to sell part or all of its business, according to TechCrunch.

Honestbee operates a food delivery and online grocery service in various regions across Asia. In Singapore, it also provides laundry collection services and last year opened a tech-enabled grocery and dining store called Habitat.


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