Excl: Quikr ropes in BlackRock MD Atul Tewari to head operations

Warburg Pincus-backed online classifieds site Quikr.com has roped in Atul Tewari as the new head of operations. Tewari was till recently managing director with global asset management giant BlackRock in India.

Tewari, who has headed BlackRock India since January 2008, has extensive experience in setting up IT/BPO companies and implementing business strategies for large scale expansion. Quikr.com CEO Pranay Chulet confirmed the development but declined to comment on the mandate, terms and package offered to Tewari. However, it is generally understood that big fish like Tewari would be offered a certain amount of equity as incentive to come on board.

Chulet, also the founder of Quikr, told Techcircle.in, "Atul brings tremendous experience in scaling organisations across multiple functions and ensuring top quality business execution. His experience in managing business operations to the highest global quality standards will be invaluable for us."

Tewari's, whose mandate will be akin to a chief operating officer, is likely to manage daily operations and implementing new strategies, including the deployment of large IT and BPO infrastructure. Quikr has been recently trying to increase its premium listings and lead generation business and that would heavily bank upon its backend ITES support.

A civil engineer from IIT Delhi, Tewari started his career with RMSI, a geospatial IT services firm, before completing his MBA from Ohio's Case Western Reserve University. He spent some time with software and business development units at MicroAge- Smart Solutions Inc and smartData Enterprises Inc before moving to Calibrated Logistics as director and GM (Offshore Operations) for India, where he spent almost four years.

In January 2008, he joined asset management firm BlackRock, where he was MD of the Portfolio Management group in India before quitting to join Quikr. BlackRock also operates a separate asset management venture in India, DSP BlackRock, which runs mutual funds. As per his LinkedIn account, he has been involved in setting up IT/BPO companies with offshore focus, business development for media, IT and ITES firms etc.

His appointment comes soon after Quikr lost its co-founder Jiby Thomas, a key member of its marketing team, who quit to start his own internet venture.

Quikr.com is a free classifieds site with 26 million visitors per month. Thomas and Chulet had co-founded Quikr in 2008 as Kijiji India, where Thomas was head of operations. Kijiji.in was re-branded as Quikr.com with more investors coming in. Till date, the firm has raised $50 million in five rounds of funding from investors Warburg Pincus, Norwest Venture Partners, Matrix Partners India, Nokia Growth Partners, Omidyar Network and eBay.

This is not the first time startup web platforms have hired senior executives. Last year e-commerce major Flipkart hired Karandeep Singh as its new CFO. Singh was previously managing director at the IT major Sapient. Likewise Myntra and Snapdeal have also brought in senior executives on board.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)