Ola’s Shalabh Seth latest to resign as senior-level exits continue
Bengaluru: Less than a year after joining Ola as chief executive of its cab leasing business, Shalabh Seth has resigned from the cab hailing firm, the latest in several senior executive departures at the company that has struggled to retain talent, two people familiar with the matter said.
Seth, a former CEO of brewer SabMiller India, had joined Ola only in January. He will leave the company later this month, the people cited above said, on condition of anonymity.
Ola confirmed Seth’s resignation. Seth is leaving to become an entrepreneur, Ola said.
Seth is one of several high-profile executives hired by Ola over the past three years. But many of them including chief financial officer Rajiv Bansal, design head Sunit Singh and chief marketing officer Raghuvesh Sarup left soon after they joined. Earlier this year, Ola hired former PepsiCo executive Vishal Kaul as its chief operating officer and former McKinsey & Co. and Flipkart executive Saikiran Krishnamurthy to lead the company’s growth initiatives. It also named a new chief for human resources and finance.
The main reason behind Ola’s struggles to retain talent is its demanding work culture, several current and former executives say.
More executives at the middle and senior levels are likely to leave in the next two months, the people said.
Ola isn’t the only start-up that has struggled to retain talent. Others such as Flipkart and Zomato have also seen an exodus of senior executives over the past two years so much so that Indian unicorns were seen as career graveyards by many potential hires.
However, in Ola’s case, the failure to hold on to many of its senior leaders doesn’t seem to have hurt the company’s core cab business. According to analysts, the company has held its own against Uber India since the start of 2016 after a year in which Uber had nearly caught up with its local rival.
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