The Zilingo fiasco is getting murkier by the day. Soon after the termination of its co-founder and suspended chief executive officer Ankiti Bose, the company has informed regulators in Singapore that Andre Soelistyo has resigned from its board of directors.
Soelistyo is the chief executive officer (CEO) at GoTo (formerly GoJek) and was appointed as director at Zilingo in August 2020. Soelistyo is the fourth high-profile non-executive director to resign from the company’s board after Sequoia’s Shailendra Singh and Temasek Holdings’ Xu Wei Yang and Burda’s Albert Shyy. Sandeep Kher of Sequoia India replaced Singh as director on the board of Zilingo.
On Friday, Bose was fired after alleged accounting irregularities were uncovered earlier this year by the company. Financial forensics firm Kroll investigated the irregularities.
Responding to the termination, Bose through her lawyers said that her suspension and termination were a witch hunt and denied the allegations that were levelled against her.
While the reason for Soelistyo’s resignation from the Zilingo board was not disclosed in the regulatory filings, Entrackr sources say that he doesn’t want to associate himself with the troubled company. Over the past month, the back-and-forth between the founder and the board has played out in public. A Twitter campaign played out earlier this week claiming to be a leaked audio where a former member of the board is allegedly threatening Bose.
Entrackr couldn’t verify the veracity of the leaked audio, which mostly nameless accounts have been sharing online for the last few days under a single hashtag.
The company ousted Bose after an investigation led by an independent forensics firm into complaints including serious financial irregularities. She was suspended from her duties last month while this investigation was underway.
Bose has responded to her suspension with a counternarrative which claims that she and other executives were retaliated against for bringing up cases of harassment. Deloitte was said to have investigated the harassment allegations, but Bose said that she had not seen the report.
In a statement through her lawyers and her personal Instagram account, she promised to go on record soon about what she characterized as conflicts of interest in the investigation into the financial irregularities that led to her ouster.
That investigation into Zilingo’s finances started even as Bose was hunting for investments that would push the company’s valuation to $1 billion.
Zilingo had raised $226 million in its Series D round in February 2019 at a valuation of $970 million. It also raised a bridge round of $35 million from existing shareholders last year. The company has raised $343 million since its inception in 2015.
It is clear that the stink inside Zilingo, irrespective of who is right, has been strong enough for most independent directors to turn up their noses and exit.
It remains to be seen whether the firm, even if it gets a new CEO as Sequoia’s Singh wanted will see a return to normalcy anytime soon. The other option being pushed and resisted by Bose, a merger with B2B supply platform Moglix, is looking like the worst case scenario now.