Uber hires former Tata Sons exec Madhu Kannan to drive India business

2 Feb, 2017

Ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc said on Thursday it has appointed Madhu Kannan as its chief business officer for India and emerging markets with effect from 3 February.

Kannan will be responsible for growing Uber's business in India and new emerging markets in the Asia Pacific region through strategic partnerships and investment opportunities, Uber said in a statement. Uber didn't specify the countries that would fall under Kannan's purview.

Kannan is the third senior-level executive Uber has hired within a fortnight in India, where the San Francisco-based company is locked in a fierce battle for market share with homegrown rival Ola. It hired former Google search chief Amit Singhal as senior vice president of engineering and former DEN Networks chief executive Pradeep Parameswaran as head of central operations in January.

Uber has rapidly increased its headcount in India as it shifted its focus to the South Asian nation after exiting China, Techcircle reported last year. Uber India is led by president Amit Jain.

Kannan was most recently with Tata Sons Ltd as the group head of business development and public affairs. Previously, he was the CEO of stock-exchange operator BSE Ltd and a managing director at Merrill Lynch and NYSE Group.

Kannan was a key aide of ousted Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry. He was brought to Tata Sons when Mistry became the chief of Tata group and his tenure came to an end after Mistry was sacked in October.

Eric Alexander, president of business for Asia Pacific at Uber, said Kannan's experience in India and Asian emerging markets will help the company grow its presence in the region.

Kannan is a graduate in electrical engineering and postgraduate in economics from BITS Pilani. He completed his MBA from Vanderbilt University.