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BYJU’s CFO Ajay Goel Quits, To Head Back To Vedanta To Oversee Demerger

Ajay Goel, the chief financial officer (CFO) of Byju, has tendered his resignation less than six months after joining the educational technology (ed tech) company. He will be returning to his former employer, Vedanta, which recently announced a massive demerger in which its business was divided into six separate entities.

Goel’s departure coincides with a critical period for Byju’s, as the company has yet to submit its financial results for FY22 (2021–22) and is facing challenges with financiers regarding a billion-dollar loan, all while attempting to secure additional capital to sustain operations.

The finance department of Byju’s has undergone two new appointments: Nitin Golani, who is presently the President-Finance, will assume the role of India CFO, and Pradip Kanakia has been appointed as senior adviser.

Ajay Goel, the current CFO of Vedanta Ltd., stated, “I appreciate the assistance of the founders and associates at Byju’s in assembling the audit for FY22 within three months.” I am grateful for the assistance provided throughout a brief yet significant tenure at Byju’s.”

Following the conclusion of the FY22 audit’s formalities, he will transition.

Prior to this, Golani held the position of chief strategy officer at Aakash Education. After assisting Byju in its $1 billion acquisition of Aakash in 2021, he transitioned to an operational position at the company.

“I am completely committed to ensuring the robust and sustainable growth of Byju.” “At this time, my goal is to maximise financial performance in order to maximise shareholder value,” Golani added.

PV Rao, the former CFO of Byju, resigned in December 2021, and Goel was appointed in April of this year, sixteen months later. Goel formerly held the position of Group Deputy CFO at Vedanta Resources, owned by Anil Agarwal. Goel held positions with Diageo, GE (General Electric), Coca-Cola, and Nestle prior to joining Vedanta.

Since assuming leadership, Goel has devoted considerable effort to implementing systems and ensuring compliance at Byju’s. A notable development during his tenure was the resignation of Deloitte from the position of auditor. BDO is auditing Byju’s at this time and is anticipated to shortly approve its FY22 financial statements.

Byju’s has not yet submitted the results for FY22 to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA). Private companies are obligated to submit their annual results to the MCA by September of the corresponding year in order to ensure regulatory compliance. Byju’s introduced its financial results for FY21 (2020–21), approximately 18 months subsequent to the conclusion of the fiscal year, wherein it disclosed an unexpected reduction in its revenue. Meanwhile, the corporation’s losses multiplied significantly and now exceed Rs 4,500 crore.

Prior to this, Byju’s stated that Goel would be tasked with working with the senior leadership and the company’s founders to develop financial strategies, plan capital expenditures, and conduct financial analyses.

Goel’s departure from Byju’s coincides with the company’s renegotiation of terms with its creditors. One of the largest term loans B (TLBs) ever secured by an Indian startup, a group of investors gave Byju’s a $1.2 billion TLB in 2021.

Since the beginning of 2022, Byju’s, the most valuable startup in India, has been scrutinised for a variety of issues, including accounting irregularities, purported misrepresentation of courses, and widespread workforce reductions. Thousands of employees have been struck off over the past year due to a double whammy: declining venture capital funding and sluggish demand for online learning services. Following that, members of the investor board have departed, expressing discord with the organisation’s founder, Byju Raveendran.

Since then, it has endeavoured to recover, as evidenced by the appointment of Goel and the promotion of company veteran Arjun Mohan to CEO. Additionally, discussions are underway to divest assets, including Great Learning and Epic, in addition to raising capital for Aakash.

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