Careem has laid off over 536 employees, roughly 31% of the company’s total workforce.
This was announced by the company’s co-founder and CEO Mudassir Sheikha in an online meeting with employees.
In a note, CEO Mudassir Sheikha said:
We delayed this decision as long as possible so that we could exhaust all other means to secure Careem. The crisis brought on by COVID-19 has put our dreams and future impact at significant risk.
“Our business is down by more than 80% and the recovery timeline is alarmingly unknown. Our parent company Uber, believes in our Super App vision and is committed to the region, but like others in the industry, is also impacted by the crisis,” he added.
“Over the last seven weeks, we have looked critically at all our costs and actioned everything to reduce or stop non-essential spending. This also includes pausing indefinitely the new benefits that we announced earlier in the year. While we have achieved significant savings from these efforts, they have sadly not been enough,” he went on in the note.
The company made the decision with respect to the following strategic guardrails and principles that were agreed at the outset to protect Careem’s future.
- Protect their strategic bets and opportunistically accelerate
- Protect and increase obsession on customer experience.
- Force radically different and sustainable ways to run the business.
- Maximize colleague productivity (in order to do more with less.
Careem did not disclose how much it would save from the layoffs and did not release any breakdown of the layoffs geographically.
“Based on these principles, I gave guidance to each of the leaders and made a distinction between tech and non-tech colleagues; the idea being to protect our tech colleagues in relative terms so that we can continue to invest in our products, and emerge from the crisis with even better products,” said the CEO.
Suspension of Careem Bus
The note further explained that Careem has assessed its strategic bets on potential traction in the short to mid term and its financial ability to pursue them all simultaneously. The outcome was a decision to suspend Careem BUS.
“The economics of the mass transportation business have improved but remain challenging, and at this time, we need to accelerate our investments in deliveries and the Super App. We believe Careem BUS is a much-needed offering in some of our core markets, and I predict that the service will reappear on the Careem Super App in the future,” noted Sheikha.
The departing employees will receive at least three months of severance pay, one month of equity vesting, and where relevant, extended visa and medical insurance for them and their families until the end of the year.
They will receive an email inviting them to a meeting with their team lead and people engagement director (PED).
In the meeting, the team leads will talk the laid-off employees through the decision and the PED will explain the off-boarding process.
The access to company equipment will be partially restricted for compliance and security reasons, said the note.
Uber, which now owns Careem, has closed its Eats delivery business in several markets, including the Middle East, and laid off dozens of staff.
Careem laid off over 150 employees earlier this year in order to cut costs to support its expansion strategy. As of now, the company has laid off almost 700 employees to date.
Global ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies had acquired Careem in 2019 for $3.1 billion.