Ola's electric mobility arm appoints former Vodafone Group CEO Arun Sarin on board

Ola's electric mobility arm appoints former Vodafone Group CEO Arun Sarin on board
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28 May, 2019

The electric vehicles arm of homegrown ride-hailing firm Ola on Tuesday announced the appointment of former Vodafone Group Plc chief executive Arun Sarin as an independent director on its board.

“Arun’s experience of building global businesses and his deep understanding of emerging markets and opportunities will be very valuable for us at Ola Electric in executing our mission,” said Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and chief executive officer, Ola.

Sarin graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and subsequently earned an MS in Engineering and an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley. As CEO of Vodafone, he expanded the company's business globally including in emerging markets such as India, Turkey and Africa.

He also serves on the boards of Cisco Systems, Accenture, Charles Schwab and Ola’s parent company, ANI Technologies.

Ola Electric Mobility was set up in April 2018 as an independent entity and as an extension of Ola’s Mission Electric programme.

The entity is led by Ola executives Anand Shah and Ankit Jain and primarily deploys charging and battery-swapping networks for the commercial electric vehicles segment. It is running pilots to test battery-charging solutions as well as electric two-wheeler and three-wheeler services. The company had run a pilot with automobile manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra to test its electric vehicles in Nagpur.

Bengaluru-based Ola had roped in Shah, a former executive at German carmaker BMW, to head its electric vehicle programme last March. Jain was previously heading Ola Play, the company’s in-car entertainment system. 

Earlier this month, Ola Electric secured investment from the chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata, as part of its ongoing Series A funding round. Tata was an early investor in runs Ola.

In March, Ola Electric raised Rs 400 crore ($56 million) from several of Ola’s early investors, including Tiger Global Management and Matrix Partners India.

In March, Ola itself raised $300 million from South Korean automakers Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp. The three companies plan to collaborate to develop fleet and mobility solutions as well as build India specific electric vehicles and infrastructure.