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Ola ropes in former SABMiller exec as CEO of leasing arm

Cab-hailing service Ola has appointed Shalabh Seth as chief executive of Ola Fleet Technologies, a wholly owned leasing subsidiary, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Prior to joining Ola Fleet, Seth was serving as managing director at SABMiller India, where he was responsible for business expansion and growth in the country.

Seth will be responsible for driving supply growth through leasing and other driver-focussed initiatives at Ola Fleet, the company said.

"Shalabh brings in valuable experience in managing a large and complex business and we believe he is rightly equipped to take Ola's leasing business to the next level," said Bhavish Aggarwal, chief executive and co-founder, Ola.

Ola's cab-aggregation service is present in 102 cities and users can book from over 500,000 vehicles across cabs, auto-rickshaws and taxis. The company has introduced a range of shared mobility services on its platform such as Ola Shuttle and Ola Share.

Ola has raised around $1.3 billion in external funding so far. It was valued around $5 billion when it last raised funds in November 2015. It's been over a year since the last round and the company needs to pump in more capital to take on arch-rival Uber.

The company shut its TaxiforSure business division in 2016 and retrenched around 1,000 employees. It recently suffered a valuation markdown by its lead investor SoftBank.

Ola was in the news for more wrong reasons than right last year, from drying coffers and falling valuations to rumours of a down round and a nasty war of words with arch-rival Uber Technologies Inc.

The company also got a lot of flak for trading silly 'nationalist' barbs with Uber, demanding government intervention against predatory pricing and seeking protection from mighty global rivals.

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