Indian ride-sharing company Ola boosted its efforts to beat Uber this month when it closed its $500 million Series F round, and, fresh off the heels of that news, it has confirmed the hiring of a new CFO.
Rajiv Bansal, a 21-year finance veteran who was formerly CFO at Indian IT giant Infosys, will join Ola in January 2016. Mitesh Shah, Ola’s current CFO, will make way by moving to a new role in charge of “strategic finance initiatives.”
Ola declined an interview with TechCrunch in relation to this appointment, and the company offered no comment when we asked whether we can interpret Bansal’s arrival as an indicator of its plans to go public.
Despite billions upon billions of investor cash flowing into taxi-app companies, there’s been no listing from a major industry player, though there is plenty of speculation around when Uber will go public. That said, Didi Kuaidi — Uber’s main rival in China, which invested in Ola via that recent Series F — could go public in the U.S. in the coming two or three years, according to comments made from VP Stephen Zhu our TechCrunch Beijing event earlier this month.
So it’s unclear whether Ola’s new CFO is preparing to get the company’s house in order for a potential listing or a full-on acquisition (Didi Kuaidi also invested in Uber rivals Lyft and GrabTaxi in Southeast Asia, in a sign of its global ambitions) or whether Ola has reached the size at which greater financial diligence is simply a necessary part of business.
The company is currently valued at $5 billion, but heavy discounts and promotions to draw in users are likely to be contributing to a high burn rate.
The only statement Ola provided was a fairly standard welcoming comment from CEO and co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal:
We are thrilled to welcome Rajiv onboard.. his experience of being at the helm of finance for one of India’s most respected companies will help us in adopting best practices and in realising our mission of building mobility for a billion people.
Note: The original version of this story has been updated to correct that this is not Ola’s first CFO.