(Bloomberg) -- Andre Soelistyo will step down as chief executive officer of GoTo Group, a surprise move that comes just months after he outlined a plan to bring the Indonesian internet company closer to profitability.
He will be replaced by Patrick Walujo, managing partner of private equity firm Northstar Group, GoTo said in a statement Thursday. Northstar is one of the earliest investors in ride-hailing pioneer Gojek, which later merged with local e-commerce provider Tokopedia to form GoTo. Walujo, 47, has most recently been serving as a commissioner of GoTo. Shares of GoTo climbed more than 7% in Jakarta.
Soelistyo, 39, helped carry out the merger that created Indonesia’s biggest internet company. Since its initial public offering in April 2022, though, GoTo’s shares have fallen more than 60% as tight competition has kept Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing, delivery and fintech contenders in the red.
Soelistyo, in turn, will now become a commissioner, and advise GoTo in that supervisory role, the company said.
Under Soelistyo, GoTo has narrowed losses steadily by cutting jobs, curbing promotional spending and tightening expense controls. Like its Southeast Asian peers Grab Holdings Ltd. and Sea Ltd., GoTo is trying to convince investors of its profit-making potential. Following years of rapid growth, the company has turned its focus on the bottom line, though uncertainty persists about elevated inflation and the global economic outlook.
GoTo cut 600 roles from its workforce in March, adding to the 1,300 jobs it axed in 2022. The company said the cuts helped it reduce monthly fixed expenses by about 20% in January and February and it has also slashed marketing spending. In February, it brought forward its target for making profits by a year, expecting adjusted Ebitda to turn positive in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Indonesia Tech Giant Accelerates Profit Goal After Job Cuts
Even as the challenging economic outlook threatens to leave consumers with less to spend on shopping, entertainment, food delivery and ride-hailing, GoTo and its internet peers are betting on online services gaining ground. Singapore’s Sea reported its first-ever profit in the fourth quarter of last year, which came earlier than expected and marked a significant turning point for the company.
(Updates with Soelistyo’s new role in fourth paragraph)
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.