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Amidst restructuring, Alibaba sends replacements for Paytm board


Paytm and its subsidiary Paytm Mall has not only seen a change in its top leadership at the firm, but also the Board of Directors at the entities.

The board representative of Paytm and Paytm Mall’s largest common investor – Alibaba – has seen a change in the past couple months. Earlier, Benny Chen, Managing Director – India & Global Strategy Alliance – at Ant Financial, a part of Alibaba Group, sat on Paytm and Paytm Mall’s board.

However, since Jan 2019 Chen has been focussing on his new VC BAce Capital, which he had started with two of his colleagues at Alibaba and Ant Financial. Founder at Managing partner at the firm is Kshitij Karundia who was earlier Senior Director at Alibaba as well as Ant Financial (at different times). Mulyono Xu, the Managing Director at BAce was Deputy Director at Alibaba for two years from 2015.

When Benny Chen resigned from Paytm and Paytm Mall’s board, the China-based investor sent in two new directors at the firm in May this year.

As per the companies’ master data on MCA website, Guo Ming Cheng, President of Investment & Global Strategy at AGtech Holdings, another related party of Alibaba, joined Paytm Mall’s board as a director on 29 May 2019, and Paytm’s board on 6 June 2019. Cheng is a member of the Shanghai Institute of Certified Public Accountants and has an extensive history of working in finance at big firms like Deloitte, JPMorgan, Shanghai Industrial Holdings, and LotSynergy Holdings.

Around the same time, he also joined the board of two other Indian companies – Zomato, Alibaba’s Indian portfolio company in footech on 25 May 2019 and Gamepind Entertainment on 14 May 2019. Gamepind is a joint venture of Paytm and AGtech (Alibaba) poised as a gaming platform that has now been renamed to FirstGames.

The other new joinee of Paytm and Paytm Mall’s board is Michael Yuen Jen Yao who joined One 97 and Paytm E-commerce’s board on 16 May 2019.

This is another change in Paytm leadership around the same time Kiran Vasaireddy and Amit Sinha’s resignations came in. Importantly, the company has been facing several issues like downscaling of Paytm Mall, fraud-related forensic audit in the company, and the entire extortion fiasco around Sonia Dhawan and two other employees at Paytm.

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