Sep 13, 2016

Ola in talks to hire senior Nestle Executive for top job

Mayank Trivedi, Nestle's country manager for Greater China region, is likely to join Ola's leadership team.

BYPankaj Mishra

India’s ride hailing service Ola, which is in a pitched war with Uber, is in talks to hire a top Nestle executive to beef up its leadership team.
Mayank Trivedi, Nestle’s country manager for Greater China region, is likely to join Ola’s leadership team, reporting to CEO Bhavish Aggarwal, at least two people directly familiar with the talks told FactorDaily.
Ola’s biggest challenge will be to ensure that it helps Trivedi settle down in the company and the new environment smoothly. Indeed, the recent hiring experiments at cross town e-commerce company Flipkart hasn’t gone the way it was expected (Read: Project Fixkart).
An Ola spokesperson denied any such moves by Ola. “Like we discussed this is not true. Consider this as a denial from the company,” the spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement.
“Startups like Ola and Flipkart will have to find a way of making this work; their success depends on how well they integrate such executive hires,” said the first person.
Ola’s biggest challenge is to fend off Uber from eating into its market share and also arrest bleeding cash. “It unfortunately comes down to how much cash you can bleed at this stage of the battle,” added an executive.
For the year ended 31 March 2015, Ola booked revenues of Rs 421.17 cr and a loss of Rs 795.96 cr, according to regulatory filings by ANI Technologies, the company which owns Ola. A year ago, Ola booked losses of Rs 34 cr on a top-line of Rs 51 cr.
In India, both Ola and Uber are going neck to neck. For Uber, which recently exited the China market by selling its business to rival Didi Chuxing, India is the next battle ground.
Ola, which does over 1 mn rides every day, needs seasoned executives to help cope with rising scale and complexity. Reuters reported earlier this month that Uber completes nearly 5.5 mn trips every week in India.
Earlier this month, automaker Mahindra & Mahindra said that it had partnered with Ola to supply 40,000 cars in two years. Aggarwal has a lofty target of bringing 5 million cars under the service in the next five years. In June, the Tata Group had announced that it will supply 20,000 cars to rival Uber.

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Pankaj Mishra is a writer of FactorDaily.