Ola hires Sanjay Kharb, Pranav Tiwari amid exodus of senior executives

Ola hires former InMobi executive Sanjay Kharb, and former Cellworks CTO Pranav Tiwari in an attempt to strengthen its top leadership


The appointments come at a time when several senior executives have quit Ola in the last three months. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
The appointments come at a time when several senior executives have quit Ola in the last three months. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Bengaluru: Ride-hailing service Ola (ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd) has appointed former InMobi executive Sanjay Kharb and former Cellworks chief technology officer Pranav Tiwari in senior engineering roles in an attempt to strengthen its top leadership even as several senior executives have quit the company since December.

Ola said in a statement on Monday that Kharb, a former vice-president of production and infrastructure engineering at InMobi, has been appointed vice-president of engineering infrastructure, responsible for increasing the efficiency of Ola’s back-end technology platform.

Tiwari has joined as the vice-president of engineering, responsible for increasing profitability by making the supply chain efficient.

Tiwari will oversee the development of solutions that will optimize the use of vehicles on Ola’s platform, reduce deviations in routes and improve the matching of customers with drivers, apart from building products around mapping and geo-locations.

“Ola has consistently invested in technology, consolidating supply chain and building a robust technological backbone, by bringing on board world class talent. Both Pranav’s and Sanjay’s roles are critical and essential to steer Ola to its next phase of growth. They bring in relevant and significant experience with large technology businesses and they have an integral role to play in Ola’s aspirations to create innovative solutions that will efficiently solve for the diverse mobility needs of the country,” co-founder and chief technology officer Ankit Bhati said in a statement.

The appointments come at a time when several senior executives have quit the company in the last three months. The Bengaluru-based start-up is locked in a fierce market-share battle with Uber and is almost certain to raise its next round of funding at a lower valuation.

Apart from the exits of chief financial officer (CFO) Rajiv Bansal and marketing chief Raghuvesh Sarup, Ola’s chief operating officer of offline initiatives Anuj Bhargava—one of the company’s key architects behind recent initiatives such as Ola Play—has also resigned, Mint reported on 13 February.

Several other senior directors have quit in the last two weeks, including Sriram V. Iyer, head of engineering and senior director at Ola, Mint reported.

The exits come at a time when Ola is facing unprecedented churn across its ranks and, as a result, has been forced to hire executives from top companies such as Pepsi to fill some of these vacancies.

Ola has simultaneously conducted a reshuffle across its business units, the people mentioned above said.

In January, Ola named Vishal Kaul, a PepsiCo veteran, as its chief operating officer (COO) and elevated former COO Pranay Jivrajka as a founding partner.

In January, Ola also hired former SAB Miller India executive Shalabh Seth as the chief executive of its leasing subsidiary Ola Fleet Technologies Pvt. Ltd to help grow the supply of cars.

Some of the senior executives who have quit include Sundeep Sahni, a former executive at e-commerce firm Lazada Indonesia who was hired as vice-president of new initiatives, and Abhimanyu Rawal, head of Ola’s luxury car business. Both Sahni and Rawal quit in December last year.

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