Nikesh Arora, Sanjeev Mohanty among high-profile exits of 2016

Sanjeev Mohanty, Nikesh Arora, Punit Soni were among the top five most talked about high-profile corporate exits this year so far


Social media had a field day when Nikesh Arora quit Japanese company Softbank. Arora spent hours fielding questions from journalists, admirers and others in the wittiest way possible. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Social media had a field day when Nikesh Arora quit Japanese company Softbank. Arora spent hours fielding questions from journalists, admirers and others in the wittiest way possible. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

High-profile departures remained a very frequent activity in the start-up ecosystem in India this year. While some got senior positions after a restructuring within the organization, a few others were brought in to revive the performance of the firms in a highly competitive scenario. Most of these people quit almost within a year from their current positions.

Following are a list of top five most talked about exits of this year:

Sanjeev Mohanty (Jabong): The former managing director of Benetton India was brought in as the chief executive officer (CEO) of fashion portal Jabong in October. This was a time when Jabong was trying to revive its struggling business and regain ground lost to rivals such as Myntra and Amazon India. Mohanty resigned last month, during the time of Jabong’s acquisition by Flipkart in a cut-price deal of $70 million. In July, Mint reported that apparel firm Levi Strauss & Co. was in talks with Mohanty to lead its India business . Mohanty is in Jabong till September. He did not respond to an email.

Nikesh Arora (Softbank): Arora was seen as heir-apparent to Softbank chairman Masayoshi Son and his exit in June came as a shock to many. Insiders said the decision on Arora’s departure was taken weeks ago, but couldn’t be made public pending legal clearances Mint reported . Social media had a field day when Nikesh Arora quit Japanese company Softbank. Arora spent hours fielding questions from journalists, admirers and others in the wittiest way possible. To a recent query by a Twitter user, asking him his plans, he tweeted, “Will post as soon as I have it figured out”. According to his Linkedin profile, he is on a sabbatical. Arora joined SoftBank in September 2014.

Punit Soni (Flipkart): Soni was roped in by Flipkart as head of products as it sought to accelerate its push into mobile commerce. The former Google Inc. executive quit Flipkart after spending almost a year. The exit came close on the heels of a senior management shake-up at Flipkart when co-founder Binny Bansal assumed charge as the chief executive. Having spent time at Google before Flipkart, Soni says it is unlikely he will end up at a large company again. He plans to set up his own venture. “Hopefully it will be a technology venture steeped in the Silicon valley ethos and work style,” he said in an email.

Anand Chandrasekaran (Snapdeal): The former chief product officer of Airtel joined Snapdeal in June 2015. He quit in May. In an email, Chandrasekaran said, he wanted to do something “entrepreneurial” to help build out the internet ecosystem in India and globally. Currently, he is helping companies he has invested in with their product strategy and growth plans. Since May, he has made seven new investments, he said. Overall he has made 19 investments. He plans to decide what to focus on full time in a months’ time.

Advitiya Sharma (Housing): Sharma, co-founder of Housing.com (Locon Solutions Pvt. Ltd) held the fort of the company a while after Rahul Yadav, the other co-founder, was asked to leave by the board in July last year. Sharma quit in March. In an email to the Housing employees, he said that the previous nine months were the toughest phase in the history of Housing. “Nothing haunts a team more than a threat to the survival of what they stand for. We had to shut down a few departments, and rethink our vision. It meant letting go of many people we had worked with, been friends with. People who believed in our vision as much as we did. It was excruciating,” he said in the mail.

A month after his exit from Housing, Sharma launched an education start-up, Genius which provides software for neighbourhood tutors. He declined to respond to an email.

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