SATS CEO Hungate departing to take job at Grab

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CFM-WaveSingapore-based ground handler and catering company SATS announced that President and CEO Alex Hungate is headed out the door to take the chief operating officer (COO) role at Grab.

Grab said Hungate would join the company officially in January. Hungate spent 10 years at SATS and served as CEO since 2014. Hungate joined SATS as an independent director in  2011, became an executive director in 2013 and then assumed his current role as CEO.

“After eight purposeful years at the helm of SATS, I feel that now is the right time to hand over to new leadership,” Hungate said. “Together, our dedicated and experienced team has ensured that the Company is well-positioned for the future, as our growth initiatives gain traction and markets start to recover from the pandemic.”

SATS Chairman Euleen Goh said, “We thank Alex for his exemplary leadership over the years and, in particular, for steering the company through this challenging crisis so effectively. We wish him well in his future endeavours. The board has in place succession plans which will be activated to ensure a smooth leadership transition. Further announcements in this regard will follow shortly.”

Hungate is credited with helping steer SATS through the COVID-19 pandemic and its disastrous effects on the aviation industry. His move is likely related to the fact that aviation will be in the doldrums for the next few years as it works to recover from the pandemic and also related to the fact that Grab plans to go public via a merger with Altimeter Growth Corp. by the end of this year, which could result in a substantial payday for Hungate.

“Grab’s business has expanded from ride-hailing into multiple new segments in the last three years, and Alex will bring together and create greater ecosystem synergies across Grab,” the Singapore-based company said in a statement.

Hungate will take over the COO role from Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling who is expected to focus more on technology and strategy once Hungate joins the company.

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Matthew Driskill is the Editor of Asian Aviation and is based in Cambodia. He has been an Asia-based journalist and content producer since 1990 for outlets including Reuters and the International Herald Tribune/New York Times and is a former president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong. He frequently appears on international broadcast outlets like CNN, Al Jazeera and the BBC and has taught journalism at Hong Kong University and the American University of Paris. Driskill has received awards from the Associated Press for Investigative Reporting and Business Writing and in 1989 was named the John J. McCloy Fellow by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York where he earned his Master's Degree.

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