GOBEAR has laid off 22 staff across its offices in Singapore, Vietnam, Ukraine and the Philippines, as a result of the "ongoing impact" of the Covid-19 pandemic on its business.
This came shortly after its new chief financial officer (CFO) Kent Huang joined the Singapore-headquartered financial services platform, although The Business Times (BT) understands that his appointment was not related to the retrenchment exercise.
In a press statement on Tuesday, GoBear said the retrenched staff represented 11 per cent of its 200-strong global workforce.
The affected employees were spread across the operations, product and technology teams.
Six in Singapore were among those let go, split equally between locals and non-locals.
Get the latest on startups
and business news
In response to queries by BT on Tuesday, a company spokesperson said that after the retrenchment exercise, 67 employees remained at GoBear's office in Singapore.
More than 70 per cent of the remaining team in the city-state comprise Singaporeans and permanent residents, GoBear said.
Elsewhere, nine employees in Vietnam were laid off, as well as four in the Philippines and three in Ukraine.
The company needs to now focus on its two growth engines of digital lending and digital insurance brokerage, as part of measures to adapt the business to overcome challenges and "future proof" it in response to the repercussions from the Covid-19 situation, said GoBear's chief executive officer (CEO) Adrian Chng in the press statement.
In a memo sent to staff and seen by BT, Mr Chng noted that letting people go is not a decision the company takes lightly, and that it had to do so "as a last resort" given the pandemic's continued impact.
GoBear said in the statement that its approach had been to focus on reducing "non-people costs" first. The company had implemented cost-cutting measures, including halting non-essential projects and reducing fixed costs and software licences, in the past months.
The retrenched employees will receive post-employment support, such as severance packages according to local laws and regulations. They will also receive resources including job-search tools, profile and curriculum vitae building as well as government support details, GoBear noted.
Mr Chng told staff in the internal memo that one-on-one calls were conducted starting at 9am on Tuesday to inform those affected and to address any questions they may have.
He added that the latest decisions were not a reflection of individual contribution.
Mr Chng said he will host a virtual town hall to provide employees with more clarity. The spokesperson told BT that this town hall will be conducted on Wednesday.
The CEO apologised to the affected employees in the staff memo, and thanked them for their contribution to GoBear.
Meanwhile, on Aug 3, the company announced it had named Mr Huang as CFO, effective Aug 24.
Mr Huang was most recently working at Singapore-based peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Societies. He replaced outgoing GoBear CFO, Frank Stevenaar.
Separately, BT reported last November that the startup would Read More – Source