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Exclusive: Top exits begin at Paytm and Paytm Mall; COOs Kiran Vasireddy and Amit Sinha are quitting


Many employees have left Paytm Mall as the firm has been downscaling and shifting focus from consumer-facing business. Yet, a top-level churn never came on the screens. This picture is changing now.

Former Paytm Mall Chief Operating Officer (COO) Amit Sinha and current COO of Paytm Kiran Vasireddy are leaving the company after long stints, said three sources aware of the development.

“Someone has to take accountability of poor performance and recent shenanigans at Paytm Mall. Since Sinha led Paytm Mall till February this year, his accountability quotient stands high,” said three sources inside and outside Paytm Mall.

Sources requested anonymity as they aren’t authorised to speak to the media.

While the firm hadn’t asked him to leave directly, his compensation and perks have been cut down. “Leaving Paytm Mall is his own call,” emphasised sources. Sinha has been an old and trusted lieutenant of Vijay Shekhar Sharma (One97’s Founder and CEO).

Sinha has been with One97 Communication for more than 11 years and handled multiple roles for the company since 2007.

Paytm Mall has been going through a series of troubles since the end of last year. After raising $445 million in June 2018, the firm had gone berserk on cashback centered strategy. However, the model didn’t work for long and these plans failed miserably.

Hence, the company’s board decided to move from a consumer-facing business in a phased manner. According to the aforementioned sources, more senior level employees are also looking for opportunity outside Paytm Mall.

Entrackr couldn’t verify who others are slated to move from the firm.

At the same time, Paytm’s Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President Kiran Vasireddy is also leaving the company, said two of the above sources. “Paytm’s payment business has been stable but major growth in the segment for the past 8-10 months has been captured by rivals – Google Pay and PhonePe. This is a major concern for Paytm. In a similar to Sinha, Vasireddy has been leading payments business. So, he came forward to take responsibility,” said the aforementioned sources.

Sources emphasised that it’s already been announced internally and senior management knew about his movement. “He’s choosing a sabbatical after moving from the Noida-based Decacorn,” added sources. Entrackr couldn’t verify how long Vasireddy and Sinha will be staying in Paytm independently but sources outline that they would leave before August.

Queries sent to Sinha and Vasireddy on Monday remain unanswered while Paytm and Paytm mall termed the news of their resignation mere speculation. “We confirm that the information about their resignation is only a speculation. The two are still a part of the leadership team,” they said in an email response.

Demonetisation had offered a great momentum to Paytm. The competition was weak as MobiKwik and Freecharge weren’t giving a tough fight to Paytm which led to an easy dominance in the payments ecosystem. Despite all this, the firm couldn’t capture the momentum in an ideal manner.

Once the momentum of demonetisation died, Paytm couldn’t convert the acceleration into a permanent business and people moved back to cash, or newer payment platforms that made a crack at this opportunity – Google Pay and PhonePe. When these two started offering a simpler UI and Paytm’s forte of cashbacks to the users, the problems for Sharma led company started accumulating.

While Google Pay was the most downloaded fintech app globally in 2018 and outnumbered competitors in terms of processing value in UPI ecosystem during March-April this year, PhonePe did more volume (number of transactions) than Paytm in April 2019.

These numbers stress the fact that Paytm has been facing sincere competition. And, the competition will be intense after WhatsApp Pay goes for a full-fledged launch.

On the other hand, One97 Communications’ commerce business – Paytm Mall has been struggling because of ignoring basic fundamentals. And Paytm is having a hard time keeping up with the competition. Several hundred employees have already left the company and many have been looking to switch. A trend now starting at the top level with Sinha and Vasireddy’s exit and is slated to continue in the foreseeable future.

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