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Gojek CEO quits ride-hailing startup for Indonesian government job

The chief executive of one of Southeast Asia’s biggest ride-hailing companies is calling it quits for an Indonesian government gig.

Nadiem Makarim, co-founder and CEO of Gojek, Indonesia’s biggest startup, is joining the cabinet of President Joko Widodo.

“We have planned for this possibility and there will be no disruption to our business. We will make an announcement on what this news means for Gojek within the next few days,” a Gojek spokesperson said on Monday.

Gojek president Andre Soelistyo and co-founder Kevin Aluwi will take over leadership of the $10 billion startup, the spokesperson added.

Makarim told reporters outside the presidential palace on Monday that the appointment was an “extraordinary honor,” but declined to say what his specific role would be.

The 35-year-old tech tycoon said he and Widodo talked about how to drive Indonesia’s development by reforming bureaucracy and increasing investment.

Widodo secured a second term as leader of the world’s third largest democracy in May. He told CNN in an interview earlier this year that the goal of Indonesia is “to become an opulent, just and prosperous country.”

Gojek, based in Jakarta, has secured investments from the likes of Google, Tencent and Sequoia Capital.

It started out as an app where people could order motorcycle rides, and has since expanded into food delivery, on-demand groceries and services, logistics, medicine delivery and more. Users can pay for everything using Gojek’s mobile payments platform.

Gojek is facing fierce competition from Singapore rival Grab. Both companies have expanded beyond their home turfs to offer services in neighboring countries. But SoftBank-backed Grab has a larger footprint, having bought Uber’s operations in eight Southeast Asian countries last year.

Article Topic Follows: Biz/Tech

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