Astro's Jake Abdullah on the digital economy and his new role as Fave Malaysia MD

Jake Abdullah (pictured), former CEO of Astro Radio and Rocketfuel, has joined Fave Malaysia as managing director, effective August 2019. In his new role, Jake will play a key role in leading Fave's growth goals as well as building on its reputation for service to their merchants and consumers in the country.

He was previously with Astro for 23 years and in his role as CEO of Astro Radio and Rocketfuel, he oversaw the department's strategic direction, particularly for brands and talent, as well as driving radex growth. He also spearheaded talent-driven content across the group’s platforms.

Jake said he looks forward to working with Fave to bring about the benefits of the digital economy to local F&B and retailers in Malaysia. "Co-founder Joel Neoh and his team have an impressive track record of delivering high-quality solutions to market, and it's an honour and pleasure to be part of this exciting organisation," Jake said.

In an exclusive statement to A+M, Jake said his leadership and track record of business experience in Malaysia were two factors that helped him land the role. He is also excited to be part of a team that helps local businesses grow through technology. He added:

As a business leader, I see it as a significant need to enable digital transformation for businesses in Malaysia by providing easy access to technology.

When asked how e-payments can help bring brick and mortar stores into the digital economy, co-founder Neoh told A+M that most consumers nowadays expect every merchant to accept cashless options, whether cards or e-wallets.

"Over the last year, the expectation for merchants to be cashless has been increasing - both from customers and local government bodies. As more e-wallet options are made available, merchants need to have multiple QR stickers, numerous apps, various devices," he added.

Founder Neoh added that the company is committed to pushing its boundaries across its markets and business verticals. "Jake’s leadership experience and presence in Malaysia makes him well suited to serve as the country’s managing director. He will bring the necessary leadership and market knowledge to the team to further our commitment to our merchants in Malaysia," Neoh said.

Meanwhile, Fave also named Jason Tan to the role of CFO, where he is responsible for driving the company's economic growth and overseeing all financial operations including fundraising, corporate development and venturing into new markets and business verticals.

Tan was previously the CFO of OVO, an Indonesian start-up specialising in digital payments, rewards and privileges. Before OVO, Tan was director at CIMB Group, spearheading the bank's regional corporate strategy, operations and partner-driven initiatives in both Malaysia and Indonesia. He has an in-depth set knowledge of and experience in business development, financial analysis, mergers and acquisitions and investor relations.

Tan said Fave has reached an exciting and pivotal time in the company's history, and he is humbled to be a part of this ambitious team of talented individuals. "I look forward to applying my experience and leadership not only with sights on the achievement of the company’s  financial and strategic goals but with a genuine passion for supporting Fave in the drive for technology adoption for merchants in Asia," Tan said.

Neoh added that Tan's financial services experience will serve Fave and its stakeholders well.

Both appointments come as Fave is seeing growth in areas including merchant acquisition and new services expansion. In May this year, it acquired CutQ and FoodTime, two start-ups specialising in F&B table ordering and takeaway pre-ordering, for an undisclosed fee. Neoh said previously that said Fave wanted to provide table ordering and takeaway pre-ordering to reduce challenges for restaurants such as increasing cost of operations and hiring staff, and to help them “increase productivity”.

It also tied up with Mah Sing Group to enable home buyers to pay their deposit for selected projects across Malaysia with FavePay. Meanwhile, the company also recently embarked on an ambitious pilot project to help SMEs obtain micro-loans from the region's leading financial institutions. Last year, it raised US$20 million in Series B funding to accelerate its exponential growth for the benefit of both offline retail businesses and consumers.

Read also:
Fave’s Joel Neoh on entrepreneurship, making mistakes and cashless societies
Tech in check: Fave’s co-founder Yeoh Chen Chow