Paytm names Alibaba’s K. Guru Gowrappan as additional director

K. Guru Gowrappan, who focuses on Alibaba’s products and strategy, will guide business, product and technology teams at Paytm


K. Guru Gowrappan’s appointment at Paytm comes at a time when  Alibaba is putting in place its strategy to enter the e-commerce market in India. Photo: Bloomberg
K. Guru Gowrappan’s appointment at Paytm comes at a time when Alibaba is putting in place its strategy to enter the e-commerce market in India. Photo: Bloomberg

New Delhi: One97 Communications Ltd, the company that runs online payments service Paytm, has named K. Guru Gowrappan of Alibaba Group as an additional director on its board amid an on-going shuffle at the board of directors level.

Paytm in the last two weeks has added three new board members replacing Ruchi Sanghvi, vice president operations at Dropbox; Naveen Tewari, chief executive of InMobi and Vivek Mathur of SAIF Partners.

Recently, Paytm got on board Amit Singhal, former head of Google search, and Goldman Sachs’ Asia-Pacific chairman as additional directors, Mint reported on 20 October and 24 October respectively.

Gowrappan is currently the global managing director of the Alibaba Group, an investor in Paytm. The moves come at a time when the Jack Ma-led Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, the operator of China’s largest e-commerce marketplace, is putting in place its strategy to enter the e-commerce market in the country.

Gowrappan, who focuses on Alibaba’s products and strategy for international markets, will guide business, product and technology teams at Paytm, the company said in a statement.

“We are at an important juncture in the company’s evolution, and Guru’s strong expertise in global business and product development will guide us through executing key strategic initiatives for the company,” said Vijay Shekhar Sharma, co-founder and chief executive officer, Paytm , in a statement.

“It’s both exciting and fulfilling to be trusted with the opportunity to mentor the incredible team at Paytm as the company moves into the next chapter of its growth,” Gowrappan said in a statement.

On 6 October, Paytm announced the appointment of Madhur Deora, an ex-Citigroup senior executive, as its chief financial officer.

Gowrappan, who is an active angel investors and advisor to some of the Indian start-ups, has over 15 years of experience in the Internet industry, according to Paytm. Prior to joining Alibaba, he served as the chief operating officer at Quixey, a mobile search engine.

One97 Communications Ltd founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, one of the 11 recipients of a payments bank licence, is aggressively strengthening its team ahead of the launch of its payment bank by October.

Launched in 2014, Paytm is backed by investors such as Alibaba Group, SAIF Partners and Sapphire Venture. Paytm wallet claims to have over 130 million users, with over 90 million transactions every month.

Paytm currently claims to do a GMV (gross merchandise value or in this case, value of total transactions) of $4.5 billion and gets about 40% of the GMV from the marketplace business.

Paytm marketplace currently has about 130,000 merchants, and the company expects it to double by fiscal 2017.

While Paytm’s core business is mobile payments and mobile recharges, it has aggressively built its e-commerce marketplace over the past two years, selling apparel, footwear, smartphones, laptops and other products.

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