Skyscanner to downsize Singapore marketing team

It plans to centralise the function in UK; no decision yet on office space here


TRAVEL booking firm Skyscanner is set to downsize its marketing division in Singapore, as it plans to centralise the function in the United Kingdom, a company spokesperson told The Business Times. It has not made any decision yet on whether to downsize its office space here.

"We cannot at this stage detail (the exact) marketing team changes, because we need to follow the local collective consultation process," the spokesperson said. The company is also still unable to comment on changes to its other business functions in Singapore, but not all may be affected, she added.

Social networking site LinkedIn lists over 120 Skyscanner employees in Singapore, in roles including marketing, talent acquisition, advertising, commercial operations, partnerships, software engineering and data analytics. Back in 2013, it had a headcount of just 30 staff here, but this number had since boomed as Singapore served a more active role as the company's Asia-Pacific headquarters.

On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that Skyscanner is preparing to retrench some 1,500 employees, representing about a fifth of its global workforce. The firm, which is owned by China's, has been hit hard by the pause in global travel amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Citing an internal email from chief executive Moshe Rafiah, the report said that Skyscanner will also close its Sofia and Budapest offices, while downsizing its Miami operations and looking for a smaller office space in that market.

Skyscanner's spokesperson told BT: "The current environment means we need to reduce the numbers of smaller, fragmented teams and optimise for co-location, maximising time-zone efficiencies. Doing this will also allow our marketing team to work even more closely with co-located product, engineering and commercial counterparts."

She added: "If a role no longer exists and this means staff will leave the business, they'll be given enhanced redundancy pay for the majority of employees, outplacement support, time off for internal and external interviews and enhanced support through our employee assistance programme."

Founded in 2003 in Edinburgh, UK, Skyscanner was later bought by for US$1.7 billion in 2015. Available in over 30 languages, the service has over 70 million app downloads and over 1,200 global partners, according to a company factsheet.