Grab pledges to offer all Uber staff jobs – but puts them on gardening leave in the interim

Uber’s South East Asian marketing team has been put on gardening leave following the company’s acquisition by Grab.

The marketing team at Uber’s Asia headquarters in Singapore were told to pack up and leave their desks by this afternoon until the transition is completed – although Grab has said it will safeguard their employment and has pledged to offer them new roles in due course.

A Grab spokeswoman said: “All Uber employees, including its leaders, in its Southeast Asia operations will be offered employment in Grab. We are excited for the next phase of our growth as we welcome Uber Southeast Asia into the Grab family.

“All Uber employees in its SEA operations will receive offers to join Grab. As they will no longer have access to Uber’s systems and network, they will be on gardening leave until Grab has found a role and has onboarded them.

“Together, we will strengthen our O2O mobile platform for meaningful everyday services, and drive rapid growth in transport, food delivery, package delivery and mobile payments and financial services. Uber employees whose coverage is wider than Southeast Asia will continue to work in Uber.”

Under the terms of the deal, Uber will take a 27.5 per cent stake in Grab, while the company’s chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi will join Grab’s board.

The deal will also give Grab, which has been investing heavily in its food deliver business, access to UberEats. Grab has since said it will expand its existing GrabFood businesses in Indonesia and Thailand to Singapore and Malaysia – following the integration of the Uber Eats business.

News of the merger also puts Uber’s creative agencies in South East Asia on uncertain footing. The ride hailing giant has BBH Asia has its agency of record for Singapore and has worked with Swedish agency Forsman & Bodenfors across the region.

Last year, the latter made global headlines with its ‘Let’s Unlock Cities’ campaign, which painted a striking picture of Jakarta and Bangkoks’ congestion problems.

Speaking at Mumbrella360 Asia last year, Grab chief marketing officer Cheryl Goh said the brand sometimes struggled to work with agencies because they are unable to turn around work fast enough.

“It’s hard for us to find an agency that can respond to us in a quick turnaround time,” she said at the time.

Both BBH and Forsman & Bodenfors have been contacted for comment.

Uber customers have since been informed by email that the official transition from Uber to Grab will take place by April 8. “All requests after that date should be made from the Grab app. However, you can still use the Uber app in more than 80 countries around the world,” the email read.


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