Gojek founder and CEO Nadiem Makarim has stepped down from his role at the ride-hailing major and is joining Indonesia president Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo’s new cabinet.
“Nadiem’s departure will see Andre Soelistyo, Gojek Group President, and Kevin Aluwi, Gojek co-founder, share responsibility for leading the company through its next stage of growth as co-CEOs,” Gojek said in a statement.
Makarim appeared at the state palace on Monday ahead of a cabinet announcement by President Jokowi, who was sworn in for a second term on Sunday. The startup founder told local reporters that he had quit Gojek to become a minister in the president’s new cabinet but refused to divulge further details. Local media is rife with speculation that he could assume a role in a newly created digital economy ministry or in education.
“I feel it’s an honour for me that I have been asked to join the cabinet… I am very happy to be here today because it shows that we are ready for innovation and to move forward,” Makarim told reporters at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta. His appointment to a cabinet post is in line with the Indonesia president’s stated aim to include professionals and millennials in his team.
Makarim founded Gojek in 2010 as a motorbike (or ojek) hailing service and has since scaled it to become Indonesia’s first decacorn, or a startup valued at $10 billion or more. Today, it offers a range of services, including food delivery, ride-hailing, digital payments, shopping, hyper-local delivery and lifestyle services. As of 2018, Gojek claims to have processed more than $9 billion annualized gross transaction value (GTV) across all its markets, including Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Gojek’s investors include Google, Tencent Holdings, JD.com, Warburg Pincus and Indonesian conglomerate Astra. The company, Soelistyo had earlier said, is on track to raise $2 billion by the end of this year as part of an ongoing funding round.
Makarim hails from a prominent Indonesian family. His grandfather was an independence hero, his mother is an anti-corruption activist and his father, a renowned lawyer.
The new co-CEOs
At Gojek, Soelistyo is understood to have been running the day-to-day operations — much like his contemporary Ming Maa at rival Grab — even before Makarim’s departure. A former executive director at Northstar Group, he joined Gojek as company president in 2016, a year after the PE firm first invested in the ride-hailing company.
Soelistyo and Makarim had previously worked together at fintech startup Kartuku, where the former was a commissioner and the latter, the chief innovation officer. Makarim later quit the startup to work on Gojek full time in 2014.
Aluwi, meanwhile, co-founded Gojek after spending two years as the head of business intelligence at Zalora. He was most recently spearheading the unicorn’s data science and analytics teams.