Ola hires former BMW exec to head electric vehicles project

Ola hires former BMW exec to head electric vehicles project
Photo Credit: Reuters

Bengaluru-based cab-hailing firm Ola has roped in Anand Shah, former executive at German premium carmaker BMW, to head its electric vehicles programme, a spokesperson told TechCircle, without divulging details of the project. Shah will head Ola’s strategic initiatives, under which the scheme falls, added the person.

Shah may also head experiments in assisted and autonomous driving under the strategic initiatives vertical, Business Standard reported.

Although Shah has updated his LinkedIn profile to reflect his post of senior vice-president of strategic initiatives, he did not immediately respond to messages sent by TechCircle.

A student of Harvard University and California Institute of Technology, Shah has worked with BMW and US-based consulting firm Albright Stonebridge Group.

Ola has made a few crucial appointments recently. In September 2017, it roped in former Flipkart executive Saikiran Krishnamurthy as its senior vice-president. In August 2017, it appointed former eKart executive Harish Abichandani as its finance chief.

There have been top exits as well.

In December last year, Shalabh Seth, chief executive of Ola Fleet Technologies, the cab-leasing arm of Ola, resigned from the firm.

In July last year, Deep Singh, senior director of operations at the cab-hailing firm, quit the company.

In February 2017, chief financial officer Rajiv Bansal, chief marketing officer Raghuvesh Sarup, chief operating officer of offline initiatives Anuj Bhargava, and head of engineering and senior director at Ola Innovation Labs, Sriram V Iyer, had quit.

Last month, Ola made a fresh infusion of Rs 50 crore ($7.68 million) into its cab-leasing arm Ola Fleet. 

Last month, Ola shut its bus unit Ola Shuttle after scaling it down in several cities.

Even so, Ola is expanding its main business. After securing $1.1 billion in October 2017 from China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd, Japan’s SoftBank Group and others, it launched its services in Australia where Uber dominates. The cab-hailing major is also looking to enter New Zealand, according to media reports.

The homegrown company is already testing the waters in neighbouring Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Earlier this month, Business Standard had reported that Ola was accused of commercial espionage by Sri Lankan cab-hailing firm PickMe, which runs the largest cab service in the island nation.

In December last year, Ola agreed to acquire the Indian business of food delivery platform Foodpanda from its Germany-based parent Delivery Hero in an all-stock deal. Besides, it committed an infusion of $200 million to Foodpanda India to expand the business.