Amid parent Snapdeal being caught in a funding crunch, FreeCharge’s chief executive Govind Rajan has decided to quit the payments major. He is stepping down from his role after a mere nine-month stint at the company. There is currently no info about his next plan of action.
Speaking about the exit in an email statement to LiveMint, Snapdeal’s co-founder and CEO Kunal Bahl says,
Govind has brought incredible energy and focus in growing FreeCharge. The pace of progress will continue with the strong team that he has built. I am sure he will bring the same level of passion and resolve to whatever he chooses next. I wish him the very best.
This resignation from the e-commerce company is the latest addition to recent senior-level exits. And comes on the heels of the recent capital crunch within Snapdeal. It has now reportedly resorted to consolidation and is planning to layoff a major 30 percent of its full-time workforce (nearly 1,000 employees), while the logistics department is facing even larger cuts (to the tunes of 5,000 at the Vulcan Express itself).
These combined job cuts at the e-commerce giant are expected to be close to 90 percent, which is massive for a company of Snapdeal’s scale. But, this is most likely a part of the company’s plan to become profitable in the next 2 years, as has been stated by founder Kunal Bahl in a recent interview. It is now looking to adopt a lean and agile business model to stay afloat and competitive against Flipkart as well as Amazon.
Post the $450 million acquisition of FreeCharge back in April 2015, founder Kunal Shah had taken up the reign of the company. The then appointed CEO Alok Goel had decided to step down after a two-year long stint. Govind Rajan was brought in a year later to lead the digital payments giant and Shah was bumped up to the position of Chairman.
Prior to joining FreeCharge, Rajan was appointed as Chief Marketing Officer (B2C) at Bharti Airtel and as CEO for Airtel Money. His profile suggests that over his fifteen-year tenure, he held multiple positions at Hindustan Unilever as well. Talking about his decision to step down, Rajan comments as under,
It has been a unique privilege to helm FreeCharge in these exciting times of rapid growth and user focused innovation. I am confident that FreeCharge will achieve still greater heights under its incredibly talented team and I look forward to facilitating the transition over the next few weeks.
Now, the reigns of FreeCharge’s business operations are being handed down to Snapdeal’s most recent executive addition. Former Housing.com CEO Jason Kothari, who has been appointed as the chief strategy and investment officer of Snapdeal, will oversee the development of the digital wallet as part of his overall responsibilities.
Further, if one looks at FreeCharge, the digital payments service, has been operating a massive scale. The govt’s demonetization drive has definitely caused a massive uptick in its user base and transaction numbers. Thus, Snapdeal parent Jasper Infotech has recently pumped a whopping $58 million (approx ₹390 crores) into the company. Other investors who’ve backed FreeCharge include Sequoia Capital, Sofina, and Valiant Capital Partners among others.