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Exclusive: Sundeep Sahni quits as Ola’s head of new initiatives

Sundeep Sahni

Sundeep Sahni

Cab hailing service Ola’s vice president new initiatives Sundeep Sahni has quit the company, two people with direct knowledge of the development told Techcircle. Sahni, a former MD and co-founder of Rocket Internet-incubated e-commerce marketplace Lazada Indonesia, is quitting Ola a year-and-a-half after joining the firm to start his own firm, according to one of the person cited above.

Thursday was Sahni’s last day at Ola. Sahni was heading a host of businesses within Ola including its bus service Ola Shuttle, Ola Auto, Ola e-rikshaw and Ola Kali-Peeli, a cab service involving Mumbai’s black and yellow taxis.

According to a source, Kalyan Josyula, director and COO Ola Shuttle will take over the bus service vertical. The other person said Sahni might move abroad after quitting Ola.

Sahni joined the core leadership team of Ola in July 2015  from Lazada Indonesia. Prior to Lazada he had worked with Egyptian private equity firm Watheeqa Capital.

“Sundeep brings with him a unique experience of setting up an e-commerce venture from scratch in a new country. His intuitive knowledge and experience of startups having been on both operational and investment sides in his past roles will be valuable for us,” Ola co-founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal said at the time of Sahni’s appointment.
Sahni in an internal email informed his colleagues that today was his last day at Ola.

Ola, facing an intense competition from Uber, is reportedly in the middle of a large funding round. The company this year shut its TaxiforSure business division and retrenched around 1,000 employees. It recently suffered a markdown on its valuation by its lead investor Japanese SoftBank.

When contacted Sundeep Sahni refused to speak. An Ola spokesperson did not respond to a mail from Techcircle.