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Grab strengthens leadership team with new Chief Technology Officer

Theo Vassilakis brings on board deep expertise in scaling engineering platforms and developing large-scale machine learning systems; Appointment latest announcement in significant expansion of Grab’s global R&D capabilities in 2017

Grab, the leading on-demand transportation and mobile payments platform in Southeast Asia, today announced it has appointed Theo Vassilakis as Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Based in Singapore, Grab’s largest R&D center, Theo will set the strategic direction for the technology team at Grab as it continues to develop the #1 consumer O2O platform in Southeast Asia.

The addition of Vassilakis as CTO is the latest announcement in the significant expansion of Grab’s global R&D capabilities. Grab’s Investments in deep learning and data engineering capabilities have enabled the platform’s services to keep pace with its growth. Just in 2017, Grab has launched a range of new services including GrabNow, a service which digitizes street-hailing; GrabShuttle, a shuttle bus service; and JustGrab, a service combining multiple transport options to form Singapore and the rest of SEA’s’ largest on-demand network.

Earlier in 2017, Grab doubled the number of its R&D centers from three to six, adding new centers in Bangalore, India, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Jakarta, Indonesia. Grab is on track to add close to 1,000 R&D jobs across its six R&D centers by end of 2018.

“Theo’s fantastic track record as an engineering leader, entrepreneur and teacher at global technology companies makes him an invaluable addition to our executive team. With our platform generating 10 terabytes of data per day and doubling that number every quarter, we’re happy we can bring on board Theo’s deep expertise in scaling machine learning and engineering systems,” said Anthony Tan, Group CEO and Co-Founder, Grab.

“Theo joins Grab at a moment of opportunity as we cement our on-demand transport market leadership and expand GrabPay to more merchants and small businesses. In his role as CTO, he will oversee Grab’s transport and payments platforms, lead the growth of our services, and support the further development of our machine learning, AI, data science and infrastructure scaling capabilities,” Anthony added.

Before joining Grab, Vassilakis held several senior engineering positions at global technology companies. Vassilakis was a Partner, Architect and Development Manager for Azure at Microsoft and a Principal Engineer and Engineering Director at Google. He was also the Founder and CEO of Metanautix, a big data analytics product company that was acquired by Microsoft. Vassilakis has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Stanford University and a PhD from Brown University.

“Southeast Asia is an incredibly exciting region. There’s an opportunity to make the lives of hundreds of millions of people easier by developing products and services that can bring convenience and income opportunities. I look forward to working with Anthony and the Grab team to drive further the scalability, reliability and machine-learning capability of our platform as we move towards that goal,” said Vassilakis.

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