Ride-hailing market: CEOs under pressure

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While competition in the ride-hailing service market in Vietnam is fierce, the pressure on senior leaders of ride-hailing service firms is enormous.

Ride-hailing market: CEOs under pressure

In the latest news, Grab Vietnam CEO Nguyen Thai Hai Van has resigned after more than two years in this position. However, the change of senior leaders of ride-hailing companies in Vietnam occurs fairly often.

For Grab, Mr. Nguyen Tuan Anh helped Grab become the first company licensed to participate in the Government’s e-contract vehicle pilot project, and then a multi-service super app to meet the essential needs of consumers.

He also paved the way for the successful launch of Grab ride-hailing app, especially GrabBike, GrabTaxi and GrabCar. The cashless payment solution for users on Grab application through strategic cooperation with Moca is also a great achievement of the first CEO.

However, after six years with Grab, Tuan Anh left to join VinID.

The second CEO of Grab Vietnam is Jerry Lim, an entrepreneur from Singapore, who took over Grab Vietnam in 2017, when Tuan Anh became Managing Director of Grab Financial Group Vietnam. During Jerry Lim’s time, Grab Vietnam expanded its services to 43 provinces and cities and also developed its service ecosystem, from transporting passengers by car or motorbike to food and goods delivery.

After three years, Jerry Lim left Vietnam and returned to Singapore to take on the position of Regional Director, managing the customer experience department in Southeast Asia.

Ms. Nguyen Thai Hai Van was selected to replace Jerry Lim from February 1, 2020, the time when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, with periods of social distancing that had a direct impact on the core fields of the ride-hailing super app. Van left Grab when the firm continued to face difficulties after its IPO in the US.

Gojek (formerly GoViet) has also changed its CEO several times. Mr. Nguyen Vu Duc is the co-founder and first CEO of GoViet since April 2018. Duc worked for a short time for Uber when the US ride-hailing platform first entered Vietnam.

However, after only one year with GoViet, Duc left the firm. That was the time when the app began to collect a full 20% discount from drivers instead of the “0 dong policy” when it first entered the Vietnamese market.

Duc was replaced by Ms. Le Diep Kieu Trang, who is a popular name in the technology and startup world. A graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she joined the strategic consulting firm McKinsey. After that, she and her husband, Sonny Vu, founded Misfit Wearables. Trang also held the position of manager of Facebook Vietnam for a short time.

Trang worked with GoViet for only five months.

Mr. Phung Tuan Duc is the next person to lead this ride-hailing application. Under Duc’s leadership, GoViet has made many important changes, including changing its name to Gojek, launching the GoCar service, paying via MoMo wallet, etc.

A local startup – Be – was founded by Mr. Tran Thanh Hai – a famous figure in the technology world. Mr. Hai is known as the co-founder and former Chief Technology Officer of VNG; co-founder and former CEO of Fim+, the largest company in Vietnam providing an on-demand VOD movie watching application; co-founder and former General Director of Vina Data; Chairman of chudu24.com; and member of the Board of Directors of Sacombank Securities. Hai was the first CEO of Be ride-hailing application.

However, a year later, the founder of Be suddenly left the CEO position. He is replaced by Ms. Tran Hoang Phuong, who was the COO of Be and also a founder member of the ride-hailing application.

In September 2021, Phuong left this position for personal reasons. The new CEO of Be is Ms. Vu Hoang Yen who held important positions at Adayroi (VinGroup), Agoda, Hoan My Medical. In just three years, the local ride-hailing application Be has changed its CEO three times.

Ride-hailing market still “hot”

Competition in this market is still harsh. In addition to maintaining promotions to keep users, ride-hailing apps also face new challenges because of the impact of the pandemic.

During the fourth wave of Covid-19 in Vietnam last year, social distancing measures sometimes forced ride-hailing applications to “freeze” completely.

And yet, increasing the discount percentage also caused a wave of protests and strikes from drivers from Grab and Be.

According to the latest ABI Research report, Grab leads the Vietnamese market with 74.6% market share, followed by Be (12.4%) and Gojek (12.3%).


Grab, ShopeeFood, Baemin and Gojek are sharing the Vietnamese online food delivery market, which is becoming more attractive amid the pandemic.

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