Ola’s in for a Rough Ride as 2 Top Ex­ecs End their Trip Now

Taxi ag­gre­ga­tor’s high-pro­file hire Ra­jiv Bansal and its CMO Raghu­vesh Sarup have quit

The Economic Times - - Disruption: Startups & Tech - Our Bureau

Mum­bai: The most high pro­file hire made by In­dia’s largest cab hail­ing startup Ola, for­mer In­fosys CFO Ra­jiv Bansal, has quit the com­pany as it con­tin­ues to see a top man­age­ment churn.

Ola’s chief marketing of­fi­cer Raghu­vesh Sarup has also put in his pa­pers, said sources fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter. Both Bansal and Sarup were roped in a year ago by SoftBank-backed Ola, which is cur­rently en­gaged in a tough bat­tle for market share with US-based Uber.

Pallav Singh, an­other early em­ployee who is Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent and Head of Ola Money, has been given the ad­di­tional re­spon­si­bil­ity as in­terim CFO. No re­place­ment for Sarup has been de­cided yet. An Ola spokesman con­firmed the de­vel­op­ment. The top level churn at Ola comes as the com­pany also moved chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer and first em­ployee Pranay Jivra­jka to an un­de­fined role as a found­ing part­ner.

Bansal, who joined In­fosys in 1999, was ap­pointed as its CFO in 2012. He was one of the high­est paid ex­ec­u­tives. For the year end­ing March 2015, Bansal took home a pack­age of $770,858, next only to UB Pravin Rao, the com­pany’s COO and Vishal Sikka, the CEO of In­fosys. More re­cently, Bansal has been in the mid­dle of an on go­ing fight be­tween In­fosys founders and CEO Vishal Sikka as his large sev­er­ance pay of ₹ 17.4 crore has come un­der ques­tion. Bansal joi-


ned Ola in Jan­uary 2016, with one of his key man­dates to pre­pare the com­pany for a pub­lic list­ing. Bansal’s exit also comes at a time when Ola’s fac­ing a chal­leng­ing fundrais­ing en­vi­ron­ment. In Novem­ber, ET had re­ported that Ola is likely to ac­cept fresh fund­ing at a lower val­u­a­tion of $3-4 bil­lion as com­pared to $5 bil­lion tag it got in 2015. Sarup’s ap­point­ment was also an­nounced in Jan­uary 2016, be­fore which he was marketing di­rec­tor at Mi­crosoft In­dia. Ola has also been mak­ing a slew of new ap­point­ments this year. Vishal Kaul, for­mer gen­eral man­ager of Pep­siCo Foods for Thai­land, Myan­mar and Laos, was ap­pointed as Jivra­jka’s re­place­ment as COO. It also named for­mer SABMiller ex­ec­u­tive Sha­l­abh Seth as the CEO of Ola Fleet Tech­nolo­gies, a wholly-owned leas­ing sub­sidiary. On Thurs­day, it also named Dr Badri Ragha­van as its chief data sci­en­tist.

Ra­jiv Bansal

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