Ola's chief executive officer (CEO) Bhavish Aggarwal has clarified on the reports of him stepping away from day-to-day operations at Ola to focus on verticals like engineering and product, saying it's "not true".
Aggarwal said GR Arun Kumar, the group chief financial officer (CFO) at Ola and CFO at Ola Electric, will help him manage operations at the company. "Reads like I’m retiring! Not true. Arun is a great leader & he’ll help me manage Ola’s ops," Bhavish Aggarwal said in a tweet.
He also said that Ola wants to accelerate its ambitious new projects like the electric car, cell, and gigafactory to deepen its focus on technology and engineering. "Doubling down on building the future here in India, at Ola!" Aggarwal added.
Ola CEO's statement comes amid a major incident involving an Ola Electric scooter, which was parked on a roadside in Pune. All of a sudden it caught fire. The video footage was widely shared on social media, with many raising concerns over the safety issues with the newly launched e-scooter.
Apart from these two issues, the hunt for a fresh round of funding and the issue of senior executives leaving the organisation are also facing the company.
By making GR Arun Kumar the in-charge of operations at Ola, Bhavish also wants to focus more on long-term strategic projects. These range from its ambitious electric car, quick e-comm vertical, ramping up R&D, building its Pune tech centre and planning the construction of its UK Futurefactory.
Futurefactory is one of the favourite projects of Aggarwal, which he wants to develop as the largest scooter-manufacturing facility in the world with an annual production capacity of 10 million units.
As of now, the facility is being used to produce Ola Electric’s S1 and S1 Pro electric scooters, which were launched on August 15, 2021. The company is also planning to launch electric motorcycles and cars in future. The car’s design is one of few concepts that Ola Electric is working on for its electric four-wheeler.
The mobility firm had appointed two chief financial officers GR Arun Kumar and Swayam Saurabh in June last year. While GR Arun Kumar had joined as the Group CFO for Ola & CFO for Ola Electric, Swayam Saurabh had joined as CFO for Ola’s Mobility, Financial Services and Foods businesses.
The new role will effectively make GR Arun Kumar the head of all its teams working on different business and key projects. The SoftBank-backed Ola is now looking at a fresh round of funding this year.
The company had raised $200 million at a valuation of $5 billion in January 2022 at the valuation of $5 billion. Ola is also facing challenges in retaining top talent at the senior level, with many senior executives leaving the organisation in the past six months. Bhavish may be looking at shifting his focus to address all these challenges.