Frans Hiemstra is general manager for Sub-Saharan Africa at e-hailing service Uber, having climbed the ladder within the company over the past six years. He initially joined the group as operations and logistics manager in 2015.
As GM for Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), Hiemstra says he is responsible for the development and sustainable growth for the business and team across the region.
Prior to Uber, he served as a senior consultant, and audit senior at Deloitte Consulting.
Hiemstra is a chartered accountant with a BAcc (Hons) from Stellenbosch University.
He tells Michael Avery about the challenges of being in a mobility business during a time of immobility in 2020. He says that Uber was forced to pivot and reinvent itself pretty rapidly during the year, which led to the launch of a delivery business for drivers to transport goods, and help broken supply chains brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns.
Hiemstra says that post-lockdown, the business has seen a change in why people are moving around, using Uber. For example, late-night out pickups are no longer ‘a thing’ – however, there has been an increase in shopping pickups, while lunch time services have become busier than dinner time traffic.
“We are seeing some change in how people move,” he says, noting that with more people working from home, many families have sold either one of both of their vehicles, and using Uber has become a primary mode of transport for those with a less-frequent travel pattern.
The full interview is embedded below. You can find all the Business Talk with Michael Avery interviews here.