India's BharatPe names new CFO, just days after co-founder Koladiya ends consulting contract

Photo: Screen of BharatPe app on GooglePlay

BharatPe has named former SBI Cards CFO Nalin Negi as its new finance chief, the company said on Wednesday, a day after it was reported that co-founder Bhavik Koladiya had ended his consulting contract with the company.

While the company and Koladiya denied any disagreements between them, media reports suggested that the latter did not see eye to eye with CEO Suhail Sameer.

Earlier this year, Mint had reported that Madhuri Jain, co-founder and former managing director Ashneer Grover’s wife, was in charge of procurement, finance and human resources as the head of controls right from the start. However, the post has been vacant since the ouster of Jain and Grover in March.

In April, the company also named Smriti Handa as the new chief human resources officer.

With Grover at the helm, BharatPe’s valuation touched nearly $3 billion in three years as it raised successful fundraising rounds from investors, including Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global Management, Ribbit Capital, Coatue Management and Beenext. Things, however, changed dramatically this March, when Grover was removed from all titles and positions following multiple complaints and a third-party audit that alleged serious governance lapses under him. The audit accused Grover, his family and relatives of creating fake vendors to siphon away funds and abusing expense accounts “in order to enrich themselves and fund their lavish lifestyles”.

Under Negi’s leadership, BharatPe, which competes with apps such as SoftBank’s Paytm and Google Pay in India’s booming online payments market, expects to become EBITDA positive by March 2023 and go public in 2025.

In a regulatory filing in May, SBI Cards announced the resignation of Negi, who had been its CFO since 2017, effective July 31.

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