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India’s Housing.com Fires Its Maverick CEO Who Gave Away His Shares

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It’s funny how things can change quickly. Just two months ago, Rahul Yadav, the young co-founder of CEO of SoftBank-backed Housing.com, was heralded as a role model for India’s startup space after giving away his entire shareholding (worth at least $23.5 million) to the company’s staff.

Today, however, the 26-year-old’s maverick style caught up with him after he was “released” from his role at the company. The confirmation follows a week of uncertainty after Economic Times reported Yadav’s imminent departure, not to mention months of controversy.

Housing.com looked like a good example of a fast-growing India tech startup when it raised a $90 million round led by Japanese telecom giant SoftBank last year. But issues began to emerge this year when first SoftBank VP Nikesh Arora resigned from the Housing.com board after Yadav attacked VC firm Sequoia for its apparent efforts to poach his staff. Things looked rockier still when Yadav tendered his resignation in May, berating the company’s investors, only to stay on in his role after all, while he attacked other startup CEOs in a Reddit AMA.

When TechCrunch spoke to Yadav in May, following his decision to give away his stakeholding, he told us that he felt better than ever.

“I’m still committed [to Housing.com],” he said. “My energy and enthusiasm and freshness has increased, and I’m really happy.”

Yadav may have felt relieved by unloading his stake in the business, but investors clearly didn’t share that optimism. In a statement released to press today, following a board meeting, they explained that the decision to remove him was “unanimously agreed… with reference to his behavior towards investors, ecosystem and the media.”

“The Board believed that his behavior is not befitting of a CEO and is detrimental to the company, known for its innovative approach to product development, market expansion and brand building,” the statement continued, explaining that Yadav will have no role in the company going forward.

Beyond its core service connecting house buyers and renters with properties, Housing.com has ambitious plans to develop a new service focused on helping house-builders develop affordable and decent quality homes in India. However it seems that there was serious concern that its CEO was incapable of steadying the ship and delivering the goods.

The company’s next move is to appoint Yadav’s successor. Don’t expect anyone too flamboyant to step into the role.

Featured Image: Reddit (IMAGE HAS BEEN MODIFIED)