Nadiem Makarim, founder and CEO of Gojek, said on Monday he has stepped down from his role at the ride-hailing startup to join Indonesia president Joko Widodo’s cabinet.
The announcement, which has taken many by surprise, comes a day after Widodo was sworn in for a second term. Widodo has previously said that he wants young business executives to join his cabinet.
In a statement, a Gojek spokesperson told TechCrunch that Andre Soelistyo, Gojek Group president, and Kevin Aluwi, Gojek co-founder, are taking over as co-CEOs of the startup.
“We are very proud that our founder will play such a significant role in moving Indonesia onto the global stage. It is unprecedented for a passionate local founder’s vision to be recognized as a model that can be up-scaled to help the development of an entire country,” the spokesperson said.
“We have planned for this possibility and there will be no disruption to our business. We will make an announcement on what this news means for Gojek within the next few days. We respect the process set out by the president and will not make a further comment until there is an official announcement from the palace,” the spokesperson added.
Makarim (pictured above) said he was honored that the president asked him to join his cabinet as a minister. He did not reveal which position he would hold, but an announcement from Widodo is expected later this week. “I am very happy to be here today as it shows we are ready for innovation and to move forward,” he told reporters.
Makarim, 35, founded Gojek in 2010 as a two-wheeler hailing service. The startup has since expanded to include a range of services, including mobile payments, food delivery, online shopping and, most recently, on-demand video streaming.
The startup has amassed more than 2 million driver partners and 400,000 merchants on its platform. Gojek was valued at almost $10 billion in its most recent financing round. The company, which operates in Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand, clocked gross transactions worth $9 billion last year.
Makarim comes from a prominent Indonesian family: His parents are anti-corruption activists, while his grandfather is an independence hero.