Will Byju Raveendran's return turn around Byju's fortunes?

Arjun Mohan, the former CEO of Byju's India, stepped down from his position

Byju Raveendran dismissed rumours of him being fired from Byju's 'have been greatly exaggerated and highly inaccurate' (File) Byju Raveendran | Creative Commons

Leadership transition and operational changes are at the forefront at the Bengaluru-headquartered edtech major Byju's. Arjun Mohan, the former CEO of Byju's India, stepped down from his position after just few months in office. This decision may have significant consequences for the company. Byju Raveendran, the founder of the company, will resume his responsibilities in overseeing the day-to-day operations. This change signifies a shift in leadership.

It needs to be seen how Byju's will streamline its business as it plans to streamline its operations for long-term success by consolidating its businesses into three main divisions: The Learning App, Online Classes & Tuition Centres, and Test-prep. Each division will have its own leaders responsible for ensuring growth and profitability. Raveendran has emphasised that this reorganisation marks the start of "BYJU'S 3.0", positioning the company as a leaner and more adaptable organisation in the field of hyper-personalised education.

Experts point out that it is not easy to steer a large ship. Everyone may think it steers by itself but nothing happens on its own. This is the reason large companies are respected. It takes an entire ecosystem to build a large company which is why the mortality is so high in startups.

“With all the beatings Byju's has got, this one seems to be a pretty strong one. Raveendran is now dumped with everything from running the operations, to managing litigation, to raising capital and grow the company as well. The ecosystem on which he was leaning on is giving up. He (and the company) will face an uphill battle now. It is not that people have not risen from the ashes. A true fighter does it every now and then. It now needs to be seen with only 5,000-6,000 employees left (from a peak of 50k plus) operational liabilities of Rs 2000 crore plus and the competition waiting to eat them out, how will Raveendran steer the ship with whatever left needs to be seen,” remarked Sathya Pramod, CEO, Kayess Square Consulting Private Limited.

Market analysts point out that at this stage the company needs major reorganisation exercise to steer the ship out of choppy waters which may not be an easy task. “It’s crucial for Byju's to retain their key talent and key partners; at the same time, they need alignment among the major players in the company’s strategy. On both these counts, they have a challenge. The silver lining is that the market continues to value digital platforms and hence there is a hope of redemption for Byju’s,” said Aditya Narayan Mishra. CEO and MD of CIEL HR.

Some experts feel that despite all the odds Byju's still has populalrity amongst the student community and a change of guard might indirectly help the ed tech major. “With all this tumultuous past hopefully getting over, Byju’s still has a residual franchise amongst the student community. The new CEO can be the turnaround artist that this company desperately needs,” said Alok Shende of Mumbai based Ascentius Consulting.

Arjun Mohan's resignation is a pivotal moment for Byju's, leading to changes in leadership, operational structure, and strategic focus. The success of Byju's in navigating these transitions will shape its future trajectory.

“During his tenure, Mohan led an extensive review and cost optimisation exercise, which likely influenced the restructuring and emphasis on core strengths. However, Byju's is currently facing financial challenges, such as repaying outstanding debt, employee salaries, and vendor dues. The change in leadership may impact the company's ability to address these challenges effectively,” pointed out space and aerospace expert Girish Linganna who also follows the edtech industry closely.


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