As Ola goes through a restructuring ahead of a potential IPO early next year, two top officials at the mobility giant have resigned from their posts. Over the last week, Ola’s chief operating officer (COO) Gaurav Porwal and chief financial officer (CFO) Swayam Saurabh have quit the company, local media reports said, citing an internal memo.
“As we look forward to Ola’s next phase of growth, we are making some key updates to our organization that will enable us to capture the opportunities that lie ahead,” Bhavish Aggarwal, founder and CEO of Ola, said in an email to employees on Tuesday. He added that Porwal will be leaving Ola to pursue other interests, while Saurabh will be moving on to explore new opportunities.
Porwal took over as COO in November 2020, a year after joining Ola as vice president. For the first half of 2021, he headed Ola’s delivery vertical. On the other hand, Saurabh, who previously served as CFO of Hindustan Zinc and Philips, joined Ola as CFO earlier in April. Instead, Ola’s group CFO G.R. Arun Kumar, who entered the company five months ago, will handle financial functions across all group companies.
According to Aggarwal, the exits are part of a management restructuring, an Economic Times report said.
This is not the first time Ola has seen executives from the upper echelon leave. The company’s founding partner Pranay Jivrajka moved on from Ola in March 2021, while Ola Electric’s co-founder Ankit Jain and chief business officer Sanjay Bhan, as well as Ola financial services CEO Nitin Gupta, quit the company last year.
This comes at a time when Ola is reportedly eyeing a USD 1.5–2 billion IPO on domestic exchanges in early 2022, at a valuation of USD 12–14 billion.
Meanwhile, Vinay Bhopatkar, former CEO of coffee chain Café Coffee Day, who joined Ola earlier in August to build Ola’s hyperlocal delivery business for food and grocery, “will take on the additional responsibilities for the driver and supply ecosystem of Ola’s mobility (ride-hailing) platform due to the strong synergies between these businesses,” said Aggarwal.
It should be noted that Ola shut down its grocery arm, Ola Store, in early 2016. Furthermore, Ola shifted its focus from the food delivery business to in-house food brands under Ola Foods in 2019. It seems the company is now reviving these business lines with its re-entry into hyperlocal business in the coming months.
As such, Ola has been diversifying its product portfolio and opening up new revenue channels since demand for its core cab-hailing business was hit badly last year due to COVID-19. Aside from promoting its electric vehicle business, the company also announced its entry into the car retail space for old and new vehicles, with an offering called Ola Cars, earlier this month.
“Ola is building this new mobility ecosystem with the consumer at its core,” said Aggarwal in a recent blog. “The three pillars of this new ecosystem are new mobility services, new energy vehicles, and new auto retail.”