Business

Honestbee co-founder Joel Sng resigns

Joel Sng leaves company and Brian Koo takes over as interim CEO and board chairman

Chief executive and co-founder of Honestbee, Mr Joel Sng, has resigned from the company, and Mr Brian Koo, whose family controls South Korea's tech giant LG, is its interim CEO and board chairman.

Mr Sng sent an e-mail announcing his resignation to employees yesterday, The Straits Times learnt.

He wrote that it was time for him to "make way for someone who can bring our company to the next level". He also named Mr Koo as Honestbee's interim CEO and board chairman.

"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 said.

He added that Mr Koo was Honestbee's earliest supporter and a key investor, and that he was instrumental in defining the company's purpose and mission since its inception.

Mr Koo, a South Korean national, is a founding member of investment company Formation 8, which led Honestbee's $15 million Series A round in 2015, according to previous reports.

Mr Koo said in an e-mail to employees yesterday that he will be working with his executive team to conduct an in-depth review of the business.

OPENNESS

He also announced his new team: Mr Roger Koh as chief financial officer, Mr Victor Chow as chief operating officer, Mr Jonathan Low as chief technology officer and Mr Varian Lim as chief of staff. All are existing staff at Honestbee.

"I hope to align our organisational culture towards openness and transparency, as well as establish clear objectives and targets, in order to set the company up for success," he said.

A TechCrunch report on Wednesday said that Mr Sng had been fired. Citing "sources with knowledge of the matter", the report noted that Mr Sng had cleared his desk and vacated his office on Tuesday.

But Mr Sng dismissed the article and said in an e-mail to employees on Wednesday night that he was not someone who would leave the company "rudderless", according to Vulcan Post yesterday.

"I am not an 'abandon ship' person," he reportedly wrote, adding that "investors and board (members) are absolutely aligned on that".

The developments are the latest in the ongoing saga surrounding Honestbee. A company spokesman said earlier this week that Honestbee is suspending some of its operations in Asia and cutting its global headcount by 10 per cent as part of its ongoing strategic review.

BUSINESS & FINANCE