Careem's CISO explains strategy for the company's big bet: Super App

Careem CISO Christian Papathanasiou explains the business shifts and strategy behind its Super App, new security issues the company faces and how the company has dealt with the pandemic.

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Christian Papathanasiou

As a vice president and CISO of Careem, the UAE-based ride hailing service acquired by Uber last year for US$3.1 billion, Christian Papathanasiou knows first-hand how a large enterprise needs to negotiate the fundamental economic shifts that a crisis may bring, and what technology leaders need to do to support a changing business model.

Papathanasiou joined Careem's security workforce as its newest CISO just a couple of months before the coronavirus caused businesses to lock down across the world, devastating the transportation industry. In early May Careem slashed its workforce by 31 percent, laying off more than 500 employees. Mudassir Sheikha, the company's co-founder and CEO, wrote in a blog that since the coronavirus hit, Careem had seen business decline by 80 percent.

Company officials recently have said that they expect the ride-hailing business to  bounce back faster than expected but that they do not expect full recovery until the end of next year. Meanwhile, the company, which continues to operate separately from Uber, is pivoting to leverage the various assets it holds to make the most of the new reality.

Careem Super App signals shift in strategy

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Careem's Super App gives users access to all the company's services, plus those of third parties, via one unified mobile app.

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