Grab to search for new CTO as Theo Vassilakis relinquishes role

South-east Asian ride-hailing major Grab is on the hunt for a new chief technology officer (CTO).

In a Linkedin post, Theo Vassilakis, the current chief technology officer and engineering head, announced that he will be relinquishing his position to take on the role of an advisor at Grab effective 30 June.

In his new role as advisor, he will continue to coach senior tech leaders and lead ongoing AI and marketplace optimization efforts.

Vassilakis cited an unexpected change of personal circumstances, explaining that he and his family will have to spend most of their time outside the region, mostly in south of China.

In an email statement to DEALSTREETASIA, Grab’s CEO, Anthony Tan said: “I have the deepest respect for Theo. Since joining us in late 2017, he has led the tech team through a period of phenomenal growth. Under his leadership, we’ve expanded to 7 R&D centres and today have a 2000-strong tech team, with some of the best tech talent from across the globe…We’ll continue to invest heavily in talent and technology to ensure that we can deliver the best solutions that will truly drive this region forward.”

Theo Vassilakis joined Grab in 2017, leading engineering, data science, data & safety and infosec divisions. He was also a member of Grab’s executive committee, helping the team set and review group strategy, objectives, M&A, policies and budgets.

Prior to Grab, Vassilakis was based in Silicon Valley where he served several stints in Facebook, Microsoft and Google. He is also the founder and former CEO of Metanautix, a data analytics product company that was eventually acquired by Microsoft.

From 2005 to 2012, he was Google’s principal engineer and engineering director where he led the team’s query engines, visualization systems and data generation pipelines. He also worked on large-scale SQL-based analytical processing services for big data analytics there.

From 2001 to 2004, he was a software development engineer at Microsoft Research where he handled data management, exploration and mining, as well as speech components.

Grab added that Vassilakis will assist the team in searching for a new Group CTO to be based in Southeast Asia.