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WhatsApp may rope in ex Paytm VP Amit Lakhotia to lead payments business


After a long hunt for India’s head, Facebook-owned instant messaging app WhatsApp may rope in former Paytm executive Amit Lakhotia to lead its to be launched payments business in the country.

Lakhotia name is cropping up amidst WhatsApp’s ongoing controversy of launching UPI-based payments service, where it is facing regulatory warnings from the Indian government and RBI.

The banking regulator (RBI) insisting for data localisation while the government strongly asking for a local physical base before launching the payments service.

Before leaving Paytm in 2016, Lakhotia was the vice president of the digital payments firm. He is currently working as a VP with Indonesian e-commerce leader Tokopedia (Jakarta, Indonesia).

Besides Lakhotia,  Amazon India’s fintech VP Sriraman Jagannathan was also in the fray to lead the payments business. Entrackr has exclusively reported that Jagannathan was in talks to be elevated as India’s head for WhatsApp.

However, there is no clarity over the appointment of the country head from the aforementioned personalities.

According to an ET report, multiple WhatsApp executives including its chief executive officer Chris Daniels, have met and interviewed the candidates during his last month’s visit to India.

WhatsApp currently has one corporate entity in India, by the name of WhatsApp Application Services Limited registered in Hyderabad.

The report also added that Neeraj Arora, who is currently WhatsApp business is leaving the Facebook-owned company, however, it has not been ascertained yet.

To recall, Arora was also in Paytm board of directors but he left the firm in February, this year.

Since April, last year, WhatsApp has been scouting for a suitable candidate to head its India operations. Several names such as Visa India’s former head Uttam Nayak came to light but it has failed to select any of them.

Interestingly, a recent report also highlighted that the top four social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn) are currently running without their head in the country.

Besides WhatsApp, Amazon and Apple are also facing the similar situation to launch payments in India through UPI.

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