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Arun Sirdeshmukh, CEO of Ola's vehicle commerce unit, is leaving company

Ride-hailing firm has deferred its proposed IPO, and is said to be tackling a string of exits by senior executives.

Ola | Ola Electric Mobility | Ola electric vehicles

Peerzada Abrar  |  Bengaluru 

(Photo: Bloomberg)

Arun Sirdeshmukh, the chief executive officer of mobility company Ola's vehicle commerce division, is leaving the firm, according to a company spokesperson.

Sirdeshmukh's exit comes after the company’s chief financial officer (CFO) G R Arun Kumar took up a wider role in the ride-hailing firm, according to sources.

“As you know, our group CFO G R Arun Kumar now has an expanded role managing day to day operations,” said an spokesperson. “This includes overseeing the GTM (go-to-market) function and therefore Arun Sirdeshmukh who was heading GTM has now had to leave. Both his roles (GTM as well as Cars) will now be under Arun Kumar GR as part of his expanded role.”

According to a recent internal note, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bhavish Aggarwal is stepping back from day-to-day operations to focus more on engineering functions, team building, and products, apart from focusing on long-term strategic projects,.

A separate media report said Amit Anchal, Ola’s chief of group strategy, is also leaving but the company said the is incorrect.

“Amit Anchal is very much with Ola and definitely has not resigned. As Chief of Group Strategy and Corporate Finance, Amit (Anchal) remains a key leadership team member,” said the spokesperson.

Last year in October, Ola unveiled Ola Cars, to provide vehicle purchase and ownership experience to consumers. Sirdeshmukh, as chief executive officer of Ola Cars, brought more than 30 years of experience in consumer internet, FMCG, retail and fashion industries. His role included overseeing the entire sales and distribution, service, marketing, customer support, and go-to-market strategy for the business.

Ola Cars is part of Ola’s larger vision of New Mobility that encompasses three key pillars. It includes ‘new mobility services’ expanding from 150 to 500 cities and increasing the reach from 100 million people to 500 million people. It also includes ‘new energy vehicles’ with EVs across existing and new vehicle form factors to bring cleaner, efficient and more affordable transportation to people.

Sirdeshmukh exit comes at a time when Ola’s initial public offering (IPO) has been delayed. According to the industry experts, the firm is facing a challenge to diversify beyond the ride-hailing business and get revenue. The majority of the firm’s revenues come from ride-hailing. Before the planned IPO, the platform is also positioning itself as a super app through arms such as Ola Cars, along with quick commerce business Ola Dash, fintech business Ola Money and cloud-kitchen business Ola Foods.

One of the biggest challenges Ola has been facing is the high-profile exits in the past two years. Last year in October, its CFO Saurabh and chief operating officer Gaurav Porwal left the company. Porwal joined Tata Digital, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons.

Pranay Jivrajka, a founding partner of Ola, quit last year.

Ankit Jain, co-founder of Ola Electric, and an Aggarwal confidant, stepped away from his role in the company in 2020. Anand Shah, another co-founder of Ola Electric, also left the firm.

Simon Smith, Ola’s Australian managing director, left in December 2020 after joining the firm in 2018. That year, senior executives Arun Srinivas and Sanjiv Saddy, resigned from the company.

The other early exits were by Ola Financial Services CEO Nitin Gupta and Ola’s chief business officer Sanjay Bhan.

Arun Sirdeshmukh, CEO of Ola's vehicle commerce unit, is leaving company

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First Published: Thu, May 05 2022. 17:44 IST