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FreeCharge names Govind Rajan as its new CEO, elevates Kunal Shah to Chairman

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FreeCharge, the digital payment platform acquired by Snapdeal last year, has elevated Kunal Shah to the post of a Chairman from Chief Executive Officer and has named Govind Rajan as the new CEO of the company.

Govind Rajan has previously worked as Chief Marketing Officer (B2C) at Bharti Airtel and as CEO for Airtel Money. He has also held various roles at Hindustan Unilever.

Kunal Shah co-founded Freecharge along with Sandeep Tandon. Kunal was appointed CEO of Freecharge, in April 2015, after Alok Goel stepped down after completing a tenure of two years. FreeCharge was acquired by Snapdeal for around $450 million, proving that payment platforms have strategic importance for eCommerce firms.

Govind Rajan said in a statement:

FreeCharge is built on a robust foundation of cutting-edge technology, superlative customer experience and a deep understanding of consumer needs. Kunal has built a great tech team and an iconic brand. It is a privilege to take the baton from him. We are fortunate to have his guidance as the chairman and mentor-in-chief. I am very excited to carry forward our mission to build Freecharge as India’s digital payments operating system.

Commenting about appointment of Govind Rajan as CEO, Kunal Shah said,

Govind has led with great insight and initiative. His understanding of the payments industry and its future trends is equally matched by his discipline and ability to get things done. In Govind, we have an exceptional leader, who will lead FreeCharge to become the No. 1 player in the payments ecosystem in the country. 

In October 2015, within five months of the acquisition by Snapdeal, it launched digital wallet, which got more than a million subscribers within a week. Currently, it is the second largest wallet service provider in India, first being PayTM wallet.

However, there are various digital wallet and payment processing companies in India that have raised significant amount of funding in order to make digital payments in India easier. Such startups include MobiKwik, Oxigen Wallet, PayU, Citrus Pay, Razer Pay, among other smaller players who exist and are building a significant userbase.

To stay ahead of competition and bring in something new, the company had launched FreeCharge Go, a virtual pre-paid card in partnership with MasterCard and Yes Bank in January. The company claimed that over half a million Go cards were issued within 10 days of its launch.

While most of the digital wallet service providers have applied for payment bank license, FreeCharge has not applied for it but has partnered with FINO, which has one, for last-mile reach and access to new consumers.

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