For a refreshing change, fintech unicorn BharatPe is making the headlines for something other than co-founder Ashneer Grover or his family’s actions, consequences, and accusations. The company seems to be putting the harrowing events of the past few months behind and moving on, if the appointment of its new chief financial officer is any indication.
However, note that this is an interim position that has been offered to an executive from the professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal (A&M). Rajnish Kumar, chairman of BharatPe, confirmed the development.
For those of you who have missed it, Alvarez & Marsal is the firm that was appointed by BharatPe to carry out an independent audit of its internal processes and systems. That happened after the audio clip of Grover threatening a Kotak employee went viral (which Grover later denied to be true). As things became too hot to handle, Grover decided to take a leave of absence till March, leaving the company in the hands of CEO Suhail Sameer.
Later, Grover claimed that the leave of absence was not voluntary at all, and sought to remove Sameer from BharatPe’s board of directors. Soon after, his wife Madhuri Jain was fired from BharatPe for the misappropriation of funds, producing fake receipts, and sharing confidential information that was used to make invoices.
For now, BharatPe is searching for a permanent CFO, and Kumar said that the process was in an “advanced stage.”
“As far as the company is concerned, the business is doing well, and numbers are good. Even for March, we are expecting that all the numbers will be very good. So, there is no impact on business. On governance, we have put an interim CFO. We are recruiting a CFO; the process is on and there is a shortlist. Internal auditors — both a permanent employee and outsourcing of internal audits — that are being put in place. All of the policies are being reviewed,” the chairman said, adding that a final report on governance is expected to be submitted in the next few days.
Coming to its IPO plans, it seems that we can expect it to hit the public markets in the next 18-24 months as it continues to grow. In the future, the board will also be expanded with more independent directors. There does not seem to be concerns about BharatPe’s valuation either.