Ola has today announced, that it has assigned a new member on its board as an Independent Director – Arun Sarin, former CEO of Vodafone Group Plc.
Arun Sarin will now contribute to the company’s overall strategy in his advisory role business to further drive growth and leadership in the market. He has worked as CEO of Vodafone Group Plc from 2003 to 2008. In his time as CEO, he led company’s expansion into emerging markets like, India, Turkey and Africa.
Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO, Co-founder, Ola said,
Arun brings a global perspective and a strong understanding of emerging markets like India. His experience in management and in growing large companies is invaluable to Ola. Arun is globally respected as a business icon and we at Ola will stand to benefit from his mentorship and guidance. I’m very excited about Arun joining us on the board as we look forward to building mobility for a billion people.
On his appointment to the board, Arun Sarin said,
Ola is creating immense value in the transportation and mobility space in India. The company has scaled rapidly to benefit customers and partners using technology and innovative business models. Bhavish is an outstanding entrepreneur with a good team around him. I’m happy to help Ola grow into one of India’s largest businesses serving tens of millions of customers everyday.
In the leadership of Arun, Vodafone become a global brand with over 300 million customers with record revenues and profits. Vodafone had a market capitalization of $150 billion under his leadership.
Along with his stint in Vodafone, he has also served on numerous Boards including The Gap and the Court of the Bank of England. He also served as a Senior Advisor to KKR, a global private equity group. Currently, he is a non-executive director of Cisco, Charles Schwab and Blackhawk Networks.
Sarin’s appointment is also indicative of a changing trend in Indian startup boards. Until now, most startups board were dominated by the founders of the company and the investors. Now, with high competition and growing responsibilities with more capital, companies are appointing global executives who can help them strengthen company’s position by mentoring and strategies.
Recently, PayTM made three new high-profile appointment at executive level, which includes Ruchi Sanghvi, Neeraj Arora and Naveen Tiwari to its board.
Ola, which was formerly known as Olacabs, was founded in 2011 by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati. It currently has users across more than 100 cities of India and over 200,000 vehicles, including auto-rickshaws in Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Kaali-Peeli taxis in Mumbai.
Ola is backed by DST Global, ABG Capital, Accel Partners, Falcon Edge Capital, GIC, Mauritius Investments, SoftBank, Steadview Capital and Tiger Global Management. Till now, it has raised about $676.8 million in funding.
The company’s biggest rival is Uber, which is currently operating in 10 cities of India. Uber recently started its operation in another 7 cities, in its biggest simultaneous expansion yet. It recently announced that it will invest $50 million to set up its India Nerve Centre in Hyderabad. Uber has raised about $5.9 billion from investors so far.