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Top-level churn continues at Ola

13 February, 2017

The exodus of key personnel at cab-hailing firm Ola shows no signs of stopping, with another top-level resignation coming to the fore. Chief operating officer of offline initiatives, Anuj Bhargava, who was instrumental to some of Ola’s recent initiatives like Ola Play, has resigned, a company spokesperson confirmed to Techcircle.

On Monday, a report in Mint stated, citing people aware of the development, that Sriram V. Iyer, head of engineering and senior director at Ola Innovation Labs, had also resigned from the firm.

However, the Ola spokesperson denied Iyer’s exit: “Bhargava left the organisation about three months back, soon after Ola Play’s launch. Iyer is with the organisation.”

Techcircle couldn’t reach Iyer for comment.

Interestingly, the ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd-owned Ola said in a statement on Monday that it has appointed Pranav Tiwari, ex-Googler and former CTO of life sciences tech firm Cellworks, as vice president (VP) of engineering. It has also roped in Sanjay Kharb, former VP of product engineering at InMobi, as VP of engineering infrastructure. Tiwari will lead Ola’s engineering team to enhance and develop its fulfilment stack and allotment platform, while Kharb’s mandate is to ensure the technology exchanges behind Ola’s platform operate smoothly.

The two new hires hint at the possibility that Iyer may have either quit the company, or is about to.

Prior to Ola, Bhargava had co-founded Appiterate, an analytics and testing platform that was later acquired by e-commerce major Flipkart. Iyer, who co-founded United Mobile Apps Pvt. Ltd, joined Ola in August 2015, and previously worked with Philips Semiconductors, Beceem Communications and Altiostar Networks.

Last week, Ola’s chief financial officer (CFO) Rajiv Bansal and chief marketing officer (CMO) Raghuvesh Sarup had quit the company, which Techcircle exclusively reported on 1 February.

The company effected some top-level changes in January this year by bringing in Pepsi India veteran Vishal Kaul as chief operating officer and designating the incumbent COO Pranay Jivrajka as founding partner.

Other senior-level exits at Ola were those of Sundeep Sahni, who headed its new initiatives, and Abhimanyu Rawal, who led the luxury cab service Ola Lux. Both quit in December 2016.

Ola, which offers app-based mobility solutions, was valued around $5 billion when it raised $500 million in August 2015. Three months later, it suffered a markdown by its lead investor SoftBank, the Japanese telecommunications multinational, as it battled tough competition from its deep-pocketed global rival Uber.

Last August, Ola shut its subsidiary TaxiForSure and fired around 1,000 people, which was exclusively reported by Techcircle.

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Top-level churn continues at Ola

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