BharatPe appoints exec from Alvarez & Marsal as interim CFO

Rajnish Kumar, the chairman of BharatPe, has announced that the fintech unicorn has hired an executive from Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) as its chief financial officer (CFO).

The highly-publicized boardroom conflict between cofounder Ashneer Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain, as well as the rest of the BharatPe management, catapulted BharatPe into the public eye. While Grover and Jain have since left BharatPe, the company was looking for a permanent CFO at the time. The hunt is at its ‘advanced stages,’ according to Kumar.

He also announced BharatPe’s intentions for an initial public offering. Kumar stated that everyone in the boardroom is on board with the startup’s growth strategy and that BharatPe will go public in the next 18 to 24 months. He also stated that the boardroom will grow in the future with the addition of new independent directors.

A&M is also undergoing an independent audit into its alleged financial irregularities, with Kumar stating that a final report on governance will be submitted in the coming days.

Jain and her brother, on the other hand, were named in an alleged interim report by A&M as being implicated in financial irregularities at BharatPe.

However, as Kumar pointed out, the negative news has had no influence on BharatPe’s business or valuation.

He believes BharatPe is worth more than $2.8 billion, citing growth in major sectors and a stake in Unity Small Finance Bank as reasons. BharatPe’s business strategy has never been a problem, according to Kumar, and the startup now has enough capital.

Notably, BharatPe isn’t the first firm that has experienced governance issues.

The Income Tax Department searched the offices of B2B unicorn Infra.Market recently on suspicion of tax evasion and undeclared income. I-T officials recovered INR 1 crore in unauthorised cash and INR 22 lakh in jewellery, as well as INR 224 crore in undeclared revenue.

Trell’s cofounders and investors, on the other hand, are on the defensive right now, with cofounders claiming that they will “not take a hit lying down.” This arose after the investors agreed to hire EY India to conduct a forensic audit of Trell.

Grover abruptly resigned from his position in January 2022, citing his contentious behaviour in his meeting with a Kotak bank employee and on the reality TV show Shark Tank India.  Following that, the Bharat Pe board requested an independent assessment of the company’s processes, including Grover and his wife Madhuri’s term in management.

Grover’s wife, Madhuri Jain, was also fired from her job as Bharat Pe’s Head of Controls because to claims of financial irregularities. Her stock options were also cancelled by the business. Ashneer Grover resigned from his role as Managing Director of the company on March 1, 2022.