UK fintech Revolut hires Uber Eats' Eddie Lee to run Asia-Pacific operations

SINGAPORE – As UK fintech Revolut gears up to launch in Singapore in the coming weeks, the company on Monday (March 25) appointed a regional operations director for Asia-Pacific – Eddie Lee, who previously led Uber Eats’ Asia-Pacific operations.

Mr Lee, who joined Uber in 2013, was most recently head of regional operations and head of strategy for Uber Eats in Asia-Pacific from October 2017 to July 2018. After Uber’s exit from South-east Asia last year, he continued to serve in the position for the wider Asia-Pacific region.

In his new role, Mr Lee will focus on Revolut’s expansion plans and build up its teams across the Asia-Pacific region. Besides Singapore, Revolut plans to launch in Australia and Japan by the first half of this year and wants to beef up its talent pool in the region.

Mr Lee’s appointment comes as Revolut plans to launch in the Republic, its debit card offerings in beta in the “next couple of weeks”. The company had previously announced that it would launch here by the first quarter of this year.

The Singapore launch will mark Revolut’s long-awaited debut in Asia. The company has over 150,000 individuals on wait lists for its new markets in Asia-Pacific and North America, with about 15,000 in Singapore alone.

Revolut’s cards – namely Revolut Original, Premium and Metal – are linked to multi-currency accounts and allow users to spend abroad with interbank foreign exchange rates. Other functions include money transfer, travel insurance and free overseas ATM withdrawals.

With the Singapore operations, Revolut will focus on the basics, namely in “delivering an exceptional customer experience whilst offering affordable, convenient and effective service”, Mr Lee told The Business Times in an email interview.

Revolut, however, has recently been plagued by a string of negative media reports. One report alleges that the company had potentially illegal hiring practices and a toxic work culture.

Meanwhile, the UK authorities are looking into another allegation surfaced by the media that Revolut switched off compliance software for three months last year.

Critics say that Revolut may be expanding aggressively at the expense of regulatory compliance. When asked about these concerns, Mr Lee maintained that compliance is a “key component” of Revolut’s global plans.

“As part of (our) commitment to ensuring compliance, Revolut continues to develop its financial crime compliance and monitoring processes, and make strategic hires whilst training all employees on the importance of regulatory compliance across all areas of the company’s business,” he said.

Mr Lee is one of several high-level hires Revolut has made recently to further its global ambitions. Others include Soups Ranjan, former director of data science and risk at Coinbase, who was named Revolut’s director of financial crime risk, as well as Andre Mohamed, a co-founder of stock trading app Freetrade, who was appointed director of wealth and trading product.

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