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Hussain Elius Steps Down as Pathao’s CEO, Names Fahim Ahmed as the New Managing Director and CEO

Pathao Co-founder Hussain Elius has stepped down as Pathao's CEO, handing over the Managing Director and CEO role to Fahim Ahmed, the current President of the company. Mr. Elius will remain on the Pathao Board and engage with the management under a new role called Senior Adviser. 

“After six exciting years of building Pathao from the ground up to the largest consumer tech platform of the country - I am handing over the CEO role to my trusted friend, Fahim Ahmed,” Elius writes in a social media post. “I will continue to be involved in the Pathao story as a Member of the Board, and work closely with the management team as a Senior Advisor.”

Pathao was founded in 2015 as an on-demand delivery service and officially launched its ride-hailing service a few months later. The company has since expanded into several other verticals. 

Under Elius, Pathao transformed itself from a scrappy startup to a leading player in several verticals including bike-hailing, logistics, and food delivery. It has since launched several other services such as healthcare services and ecommerce. It has recently received permission from Bangladesh Bank to launch its Pathaio Pay service.  

The company also suffered through its share of challenges including a major layoff in 2019 when a fund-raising discussion fell apart and its effort to launch a payment product Pathao Pay failed to get regulatory permission. The company, however, has managed to weather the challenges and turn around its business and says it has never been stronger financially and operationally. Pathao has so far raised $14.8 million in total funding. 

In recent months, Mr. Elius has mostly stepped back from much of Pathao’s day-to-day operation. Fahim Ahmed, President and now CEO of the company has mostly been doing the public engagement on behalf of the company hinting at the potential change. 

As he steps down from Pathao, Elius says that he plans to pursue other opportunities. “I have decided to step down as CEO to pursue solving other problems. While it was a tough decision to take, it is the right time. My personal goal has always been to be a serial entrepreneur- and that means taking on the challenge of building not just one business, but building multiple. I am beyond excited to announce my next venture(s) to all of you in the next couple of weeks!”

Fahim Ahmed joined Pathao 2018 as the Chief Financial Officer. He was made President of the company in mid-2020 as a preparation for the transition. He has since been overseeing the day-to-day operations and strategic direction of the company. 

Shifts at the top have trickled down, Pathao has changed its posture as a company since Mr. Ahmed took over as a President. The transition is interesting in that Pathao is the first tech startup in Dhaka that will be run by a non-founder CEO indicating coming changes in Dhaka’s startup ecosystem. 

As the country comes out of the pandemic, Pathao faces a host of new challenges and opportunities. It has also embarked on a number of new verticals and looks forward to introducing several new services including Pathao Pay. The new leadership means the company is likely to see different operational and strategic dynamics. 

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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