The ride-hailing firm, which competes with Ola in India, said today it has hired Manikandan Thangarathnam, who spent nearly 13 years as a director of engineering at Amazon, to lead the company’s rider and platform engineering teams in Bangalore. (Uber announced it would hire 140 engineers in India last month. Today it said it was in the process of hiring an additional 85 engineers.)
The move comes as several high-profile engineers have left Uber India in recent months to join Google and Amazon, among other tech giants. A senior engineer who recently left Uber told TechCrunch that many of his peers had lost confidence in Uber’s future prospects in the country.
Uber said its tech expansion plans in India were in line with its vision to make mobility and delivery “more accessible” and becoming the “backbone” of transportation in thousands of cities across the globe.
The company recently also hired Jayaram Valliyur as a senior director to lead its global finance technology team. Prior to this role, Jayaram, too, worked at Amazon, where he spent 14 years.
In July, news outlet The Information described Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi’s plan to move engineering roles to India as a cost-saving measure. The report said Khosrowshahi’s plan had sparked internal debates.
Thuan Pham, Uber’s longtime chief technology officer, who left the company earlier this year, reportedly cautioned that hiring more engineers so quickly in India would “require accepting lower-quality candidates.”
Uber and Ola both claim to be the No. 1 ride-hailing service in India. But Rajeev Misra, the chief of SoftBank Vision Fund which is a common investor in both the companies, said last month that Ola maintained a “small lead” over Uber in India.