Ola Cabs CEO Quits In 4 Months Of Joining, Company To Lay Off 10% More Staff

Even as Ola is entering areas like electric vehicles and AI, it seems to be trimming its core cabs business.

Ola Cabs CEO Hemant Bakshi has quit four months into the job, Moneycontrol reports. Bakshi had previously worked been the Executive Vice President for Unilever Marketplace and Chairman at Unilever Indonesia, and had replaced Ola founder Bhavish Aggarwal as Ola Mobility CEO. He had taken over the role in January, but has now quit with his resignation being effective immediately.

Meanwhile, Ola has also reportedly laying off 10 percent of its staff in a restructuring exercise. “With this restructuring, certain roles within the organization will be rendered redundant and could impact as much as 10 percent of the workforce,” a source said.

There had been other indications that Ola Cabs was looking to trim its operations. Earlier this month, the company had shut down all its international businesses which included operations in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Ola had entered these markets in 2018, but after some initial success, had largely failed to make a sustained impact. “There is immense opportunity for expansion in India,” an Ola spokesperson said about the shutting down of international operations. “With this clear focus, we’ve reassessed our priorities and have decided to shut down our overseas ride-hailing business,” they added.

But it appears that Ola doesn’t seem particularly bullish about its India operations either, and is trimming staff. Additionally, its CEO seems to have left within 4 months of taking over the role. Ola had previously laid off 200 engineers in 2022.

Over the years, Ola and Uber have largely settled into a duopoly in the cab hailing space in India, and the competitive intensity between the two has decreased. While the two companies would vie to quickly launch new cities and products when they’d first started off, they now largely seem content to plod along, and haven’t reacted much even to newer entrants into the space, such as BluSmart and Rapido. Ola’s Mobility business, however, is now profitable, having reported a standalone profit of Rs. 250 crore in FY23. But with Bhavish Aggarwal now occupied with newer ventures — Ola Electric could soon go public, and Krutrim AI is heavily promoting its services — Ola’s ridesharing business might be ending up feeling a bit neglected.