New Honestbee chief takes over to restructure business

Grocery and delivery start-up Honestbee has announced the appointment of its new chief executive, nearly three months after former CEO and co-founder Joel Sng stepped down.

In a statement yesterday, Honestbee said Mr Ong Lay Ann's appointment was effective as of July 15.

He takes over from interim CEO Brian Koo, whose family controls South Korean technology giant LG. Mr Koo was named interim CEO in May following Mr Sng's departure.

Mr Ong, who is Singaporean, has close to two decades of leadership experience in IT, commodities, real estate and infrastructure, Honestbee said.

His key priorities are to restructure the company's capital structure and resolve its debt, a spokesman for the company said.

Mr Ong currently serves as a director for Australia-listed Weststar Industrial, and ISDN Investments, the investment and trading arm of mainboard-listed precision and motion control engineering firm ISDN Holdings.

"It is a huge privilege to lead Honestbee - a true-blue local start-up full of potential and brilliant talent," Mr Ong said.

Mr Koo, who was named board chairman when Mr Sng left Honestbee, said: "Lay Ann is an exceptional business leader who has been brought on board due to his tremendous track record in turning ailing businesses around.

"We have confidence that Lay Ann has what it takes to restructure the business, build consumer confidence and employee morale, repair relationships and bring the brand to greater heights."

Honestbee added that co-founder and chief technology officer Jonathan Low had resigned on July 11 for personal reasons.

Mr Low co-founded the company in July 2015 and was key to the company's growth over the last four years, leading the engineering team in Singapore and Taiwan and supporting the development of the firm's products over the years, Honestbee said.

Mr Low, who has agreed to serve as an adviser to the company, is the last of Honestbee's co-founders to leave the firm.

In May, Mr Sng sent an e-mail to Honestbee employees announcing his intention to resign, saying the firm needed a reset and to place greater focus on its customers, partners and contractors.

A third partner, Mr Isaac Tay, left the company last year, according to his LinkedIn profile.

"It is my privilege to have worked with some of the best talent during my time here," Mr Low said, adding that his decision to leave the start-up was made before Mr Ong was appointed as the new CEO.

In April, the home-grown company said it was suspending some of its operations in Asia and cutting its global headcount by 10 per cent as part of its strategic review. On May 15, Honestbee announced that it was ceasing its food delivery service in Singapore.