Former YTL marketing and sales lead Derek Tan rides off with brand chief role at Carsome

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Southeast Asia car trading platform Carsome has appointed Derek Tan (pictured) as chief brand officer to champion the growth of Carsome’s brand, marketing and communications. He told A+M that this will be done through effective brand strategy and translating the strategy into meaningful, enduring relationships with the people who matter to Carsome. He reports to co-founder and group CEO Eric Cheng.

His team currently comprises 30 individuals spanning Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore. Tan told A+M that his vision is to build Carsome into a brand that changes the way consumers think, feel and act, and to go beyond the functional of what it offers as a platform and solution, into assurance and peace of mind in "an industry that is traditionally marred by fear or distrust". "There is a lot of ambition of where we go from here; the values we embody at Carsome is world class and sets the stage for the horizons we will scale together," he added.

He was previously senior head of sales, marketing and digital strategy at YTL Communications for close to three years, during which he led product, partnerships, customer journey, strategic communications, branding, internal policies and procedures, crisis management, events, media, creative, analytics, experiential and field marketing, his LinkedIn said.

Before returning to the brand side, Tan spent more than seven years in the agency world, having worked at Entropia Global for two years, Mediabrands for more than five years, and Vocanic for 11 months. During his time in the agency scene, Tan has helmed roles including partner; regional senior partner, social media, Asia Pacific; and regional head of community management and analytics and insights, according to his LinkedIn. Meanwhile, his experience on the client side also includes AirAsia and Sime Darby. 

Tan joins Carsome at a time when its business expansion is at full throttle. Last year, it received a Series D funding of US$30 million which were used to strengthen its existing regional position in consumer-to-business used car eCommerce, and accelerate its new offering in the B2C segment, the Carsome Experience Centre.

On why he chose Carsome, Tan said the company is disrupting the way people have been buying and selling used cars through digitalisation and personalisation in an industry that often alienates and induces fear and anxiety. He wants to explore opportunities that will create a brand that endures and grows with the people who matter to Carsome, built on the fundamental belief and trust in the new way of trading cars.

"What excites me the most about joining Carsome is the team of like-minded leaders and people who believe in the same vision and values. We believe there is no better time to establish Carsome as a brand now, built on a mission to change things for the better and a vision we are not willing to postpone. This will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills. It is a challenge that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win," he added.

Founded in 2015, Carsome has a presence in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand, and provides end-to-end solutions to consumers and usedcar dealers, from car inspection to ownership transfer to financing. It transacts an annualised 70,000 cars totalling US$600 million in transacted value, and has more than 1,000 employees across all its offices.

Just last week, Carsome named Mei Han CEO of its B2C arm Carsome Certified, a crucial move in its bigger vision of expanding the unit in the region. The appointment also arose from Carsome's focus on vertical expansion from the C2B to B2C model this year.

As CEO, Mei will focus on integrating and elevating consumer experience both online and offline by riding on Carsome’s product, tech and data capabilities. He will be assisted by Carsome Certified's director of operations Yuan Li Yu and the B2C unit's Malaysia GM Alan Cheah.

Carsome Certified was first launched in August 2020 to offer consumers a used car buying experience that comes with peace of mind and quality assurance. Following its success in Malaysia, Carsome said the B2C arm will be launched in Indonesia and Thailand next month.

Meanwhile, the company is also giving back to the community by setting up its first technical institution in Malaysia, offering Malaysian youths technical education and guaranteed career opportunities. Known as Carsome Academy, the institution was launched in January this year and offers industry-oriented training programs which combine institutional and workplace training.

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