Junaid Iqbal, Careem Pay MD Is Leaving Careem, Spokesperson Confirms

The executive in charge of digital Careem pay for ride-hailing app Careem has resigned, a company spokeswoman confirmed to The National on Sunday.

Junaid Iqbal, Careem Pay MD Is Leaving Careem, Spokesperson Confirms

By Courtesy Careem

Junaid Iqbal, managing director of Careem Pay, is leaving at the end of this month.

Mr Iqbal, who has been at the company since 2015, will not be immediately replaced, according to the spokeswoman, instead co-founder and chief executive Mudassir Sheikha will be assuming leadership of the division.

Financial services is a critical growth area for Careem’s push towards profitability.

“Junaid joined Careem in 2015 helping establish Careem in Pakistan. He went on to also lead the team in Saudi Arabia before becoming head of the Careem Pay business unit in 2019,” Mr Sheikha said in a statement shared with The National.

“We are extremely grateful for Junaid’s many contributions to Careem and wish him the very best in his future endeavours.”

The news comes less than a week after Careem signed a deal with Visa to offer its drivers real-time access to their daily trip earnings through its new Super App.

The new digital wallet – available to drivers and customers – mimics Uber Cash, launched in September 2018, allowing users to top up their own money into an account on the app to easily pay for the company’s services such as ride-hailing and food delivery.

Last month, Uber Technologies, Careem’s parent, said it is prioritising ridesharing and food delivery growth over major investments in financial technology after the head of Uber Money quit.

Chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said at the time that Uber will “deprioritise” several of its finance-related projects, which have included credit cards, a digital wallet and instant payments for drivers, Bloomberg reported.

Uber, which operates Uber Eats, the second biggest order-and-delivery app by market share in the US, went on to acquire smaller rival Postmates for $2.65 billion (Dh9.73bn) last week.

The pandemic has been brutal on the ride-hailing industry. Uber reported a 70 per cent drop in ride activity during shutdown orders in the US and the company has cut 25 per cent of its workforce.

In May, Careem cut nearly a third of its workforce, or 536 jobs, due to the impact of coronavirus-related restrictions on demand. The ride-hailing business began recovering at the end of May, from a plunge of more than 80 per cent in March and April, Mr Sheikha said last month.

“Since the first week of May, we started seeing a recovery and we’ve been growing in the double digit [range] every week for the last five weeks now,” he said.

“The rides business had the fastest recovery because it was down the most; things started opening up and, all of a sudden, a lot of the traffic started pouring back in. We’re still down significantly, nowhere close to our previous levels, but from a very low base we’re growing in the double-digit [range] week on week.”

Originally published at The National Future