Arjun Mohan, chief executive of ed-tech start-up BYJU'S India, has decided to exit the company in less than six months after joining as the chief executive. BYJU's says Mohan will now transition to an external advisory role.

“Arjun has done an outstanding job steering BYJU'S through a challenging period...we are grateful for his leadership and look forward to his continued contributions as a strategic advisor,” says Byju Raveendran, founder and Group CEO. Apart from this, the company has not mentioned any other reason behind the change of role for Mohan.

Mohan's exit as CEO in a short span comes amid a crisis at BYJU's, which is facing issues from all fronts i.e. funding crisis, spat with investors, and layoffs, among others.

To lead the India unit, Byju Raveendran says he will spearhead the daily operations of the company. "Over the past four years, he (Raveendran) had focused primarily on strategic aspects such as raising capital and driving global expansion. However, recognising the need for strong leadership during this challenging hour, he will now be deeply involved in the company's day-to-day functioning, leveraging his expertise to steer BYJU'S towards its next phase of growth and innovation," BYJU's statement adds.

The top-level exit and Raveendran's decision to lead the operations of BYJU's India unit seem to be aimed at re-energising the company badly hit by recent episodes. "BYJU'S aims to chart a fresh chapter of growth with Raveendran at the helm," says the company, adding that it was on track to scale its new suite of AI-first products.

Additionally, BYJU'S has taken more measures to streamline its operations, which include consolidating its businesses into three focused divisions - The Learning App, online classes & tuition centres, and test-prep. "Each of these units will have separate leaders who will independently run the businesses sustainably to ensure profitability," says the company.

The current changes come following BYJU's recent (April 8, 2024) appointment of Deepak Mehrotra as its MD and CEO of Aakash Educational Services Ltd. Mehrotra had previously worked in the FMCG, telecom, and education industries. Before joining AESL, he was the MD at Ashirvad Pipes. He had previously worked at Pearson India, Bharti Airtel, Coca-Cola, and Asian Paints.

The severe cash crunch in the wake of restrictions on the release of funds raised via a rights issue has prompted BYJU's to lay off employees to cut costs and manage expenses. BYJU's did not reveal official information regarding the number of employees who were handed over the pink slips, though reports suggest it could be anywhere between 100-500. The company employs around 14,000 employees in India alone.

However, in a breather to BYJU’s employees, the company recently started disbursing salaries after a two-month delay after it was restricted from using funds raised via a recent rights issue. The salary will be completed within the next 10 days, the company said.

Launched in 2011, BYJU's had transformed India's ed-tech landscape by offering a comprehensive range of online education services, catering to students from primary school to MBA levels. The platform gained significant traction during the pandemic in 2019-20 when people were confined to their homes. However, recent financial disclosures and controversies severely tarnished its reputation.

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