Byju’s, once celebrated as India’s most valuable startup, now faces another jolt with the resignation of CFO Ajay Goel. Goel, who had only been with the edtech titan since April, will conclude his services after overseeing audit tasks for the financial year ending March 2022. His departure leads him back to mining giant Vedanta later this month.
Pradip Kanakia, known for his industry expertise, will now don the mantle of senior advisor at Byju’s. Meanwhile, Nitin Golani, previously heading the startup’s financial department as President, has been promoted to CFO.
Financial Woes Deepen
Adding to its roster of woes, Byju’s grapples with a hefty $1.2 billion term-B loan from a consortium of lenders. Further strain emerges as Davidson Kempner, originally on board to furnish a credit of $250 million, now advocates for a swift repayment, citing a technical default clause.
Byju’s Audit and Governance Glitches
Deloitte’s abrupt resignation in June cast a shadow on Byju’s financial practices. This decision was soon followed by the exit of three pivotal board members. Notably, Prosus, holding over 9% of Byju’s shares, openly rebuked the startup’s reluctance to adapt and heed investor counsel. Such controversies led Prosus to recalibrate Byju’s valuation, bringing it down to a mere $5.1 billion.
Looming Business Decisions
Byju’s delayed financial disclosures have become a recurrent issue. Their tendency to postpone financial account filings, especially for March 2022, remains a glaring concern. Coupled with this, the startup’s decision to axe over 10,000 positions after market shifts highlights their tumultuous phase. Recent rumors suggest Byju’s intent to divest from some of its 2020 and 2021 acquisitions, aiming to reconcile its outstanding lender dues.
Vedanta’s Own Re-shuffling
Meanwhile, Vedanta undergoes its own structural shifts. Sonal Shrivastava, Vedanta’s incumbent CFO, tendered her resignation due to personal reasons. This change is set against the backdrop of the company’s major structural modifications announced earlier. Vedanta has warmly welcomed Goel back into the fold, re-appointing him as CFO effective October 30, 2023.
Despite the hurdles, Byju’s, a stalwart in India’s edtech arena, persists in its journey. The shifting dynamics in its leadership and financial strategy paint a picture of a giant adapting to changing times, striving for stability amidst challenges.