PHOTO: Reuters

Uber's Careem cuts 31% of workforce

The announcement came hours after Uber said it was shuttering its Eats delivery business in several markets

Agencies May 05, 2020
DUBAI: Uber Technologies’ Careem subsidiary said on Monday it was cutting 536 jobs this week, representing 31% of the Dubai-headquartered company’s workforce.

The announcement came hours after Uber said it was shuttering its Eats delivery business in several markets, including the Middle East, and laying off dozens of staff.

Careem, which operates ride-hailing and delivery businesses primarily in the Middle East, said it was prioritising the security of the company and that parent Uber continued to believe in its business model and was committed to the region.

“As we have discussed several times in the last few weeks, the crisis brought on by Covid-19 has put our dream and future impact at significant risk,” Mudassir Sheikha, Chief Executive said in a blog on Careem’s website.

Sheikha, who founded the company in 2012, said the business was down by more than 80% and that it was “alarmingly unknown” when it would recover.

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“In this new reality, the surest way to secure Careem for the long term is to drive towards self-sustainability within a reasonable time frame,” he said.

Careem did not say how much it expected to save from the layoffs or which business units staff had been cut from. However, it said tech-colleagues were protected in relative terms so it could continue to invest in its products.

Affected employees would receive at least three months severance pay, a month of equity vesting, and in some cases extended visa and medical insurance, including for family members, until the end of the year.

"Letting people go from Careem was a last resort.  These are the people that helped build Careem and create massive change and impact for our communities across the region.  We greatly value their work and dedication and sincerely hope we will be able to hire those people back once we build a sustainable basis for our future.”

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The Careem BUS mass-transportation operation has also been suspended, it said.

Careem has also found “significant savings” from pausing new benefits, it said without disclosing details.

Uber earlier announced it was closing its food delivery business in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other countries, while it is United Arab Emirates operations would move to Careem.

"As we envisioned becoming a Super App,  reshaping for some of our markets was already under process, it has been further impacted by the current crisis," it added.

Global ride-hailing group Uber bought Careem in 2019 for $3.1 billion.


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