The resgination comes days after the SIAC rejected Grover's appeal to block a third-party governance review by the company
Grover claimed that he and his wife Madhuri Jain Grover were constantly vilified by the board and investors in the public
He alleged that investors were more willing to believe gossip and rumours about him instead of having a conversation
Update: BharatPe has sent us a statement after Ashneer Grover’s resignation last night. “Ashneer Grover resigned as Managing Director and Board Director of BharatPe minutes after receiving the agenda for upcoming Board meeting that included submission of the PWC report regarding his conduct and considering actions based on it. The Board reserves the right to take action based on the report’s findings,” a company spokesperson told us.
Our original story follows.
BharatPe cofounder Ashneer Grover has resigned from the company and its board, which could finally settle the many issues within the fintech company, ranging from boardroom struggles to public mudslinging.
After nearly two months of controversies, which put BharatPe under the spotlight, Grover claimed that he and his wife Madhuri Jain Grover were constantly vilified by the board and investors in the public.
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“Since the beginning of 2022, unfortunately, I’ve been embroiled in baseless and targeted attacks on me and my family by a few individuals who are ready not only to harm me and my reputation but also harm the reputation of the company, which they are ostensibly trying to protect,” Grover said in an email to the board of directors, as per an ET report.
In the scathing email, Grover accused the investors of BharatPe of not knowing what it takes to run a business and build it to the position of market leadership. He also claimed that investors have never shown interest in the company, till it came to the matter of the governance review and the clauses of the shareholder agreement after the controversies erupted.
“For you, the Founder of this company has been reduced to a button to be pressed when needed. I cease to be a human for you. Today, you have chosen to believe gossip and rumours about me instead of having a frank conversation. You are so easily spooked because you have no touch with reality.” – BharatPe cofounder Ashneer Grover.
According to the report, Grover mailed the resignation to the board on March 1, at midnight. This comes a few days after the outspoken entrepreneur suffered a major setback in his dispute with the fintech startup’s board and CEO, as the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) rejected his appeal to block a third-party governance review by the company.
The controversies began when an expletive-laden conversation involving Grover and a Kotak employee was leaked on Twitter in late 2021. In January, Grover announced that he was going on a voluntary leave of absence, but this was nothing but window dressing given the volume of allegations that have followed.
An internal review conducted by Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) is said to have revealed impropriety including embezzlement involving Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain Grover, who was also head of controls at BharatPe. This led to Jain Grover being acrimoniously laid off by the company, and last week, she further alleged that BharatPe had enabled a sexist work culture.
But now that Grover has quit the startup he had founded, it would be interesting to see how the company deals with its single largest individual shareholder leaving the ship. The cofounder continues to hold 9.5% stake in BharatPe. Will it cause problems down the road for BharatPe?
Update Note | March 01, 2022; 11:40 AM
Added BharatPe’s statement on Ashneer Grover’s resignation