Ashneer Grover vs BharatPe: Co-founder Shashvat Nakrani backs CEO Suhail Sameer

The BharatPe Co-founder denied media reports about his consent to remove Suhail Sameer as CEO of the fintech venture.
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BharatPe Co-founder Shashvat Nakrani said on Saturday that he has neither given his consent for, nor sought the removal of Suhail Sameer from the board of fintech firm BharatPe.

This is Shashvat's first public statement since the public battle broke out between BharatPe Co-founder and Managing Director, Ashneer Grover, and BharatPe, in late January.

"I can confirm that I was one of the two joint nominees in the appointment resolution of Suhail Sameer as the CEO and Board member of BharatPe, and he continues to enjoy my support," Shashvat said in a media statement, reacting to news reports that suggested Suhail's removal from BharatPe's board of directors.

Shashvat said he fully supports Suhail's continuance on the BharatPe board.

Suhail joined BharatPe in August 2020 as group president, and is currently CEO and executive director on the eight-member board of the company.

He was appointed to the board on August 20, 2021, which required amendments to the BharatPe's articles of association at an extraordinary general meeting after Tiger Global Management led a $370-million round in the company.

According to a corporate lawyer that YourStory spoke with on Saturday, the consent of both founders would have enabled Suhail to be on the board of directors.

"What right the board has, the investors have, and the shareholder who is at loggerheads with the company will be documented in the articles of association," said the lawyer requesting anonymity

"When founders realise things don’t work out the way they would like, it can lead to investors backing a majority of the founders, or the CEO if there are only two founders," the lawyer said.

"Whoever the two founders have appointed as a CEO, the investors will back that person because they and the founders have appointed the CEO," the corporate lawyer told YourStory.

"The investors can say: 'We are going with the call both of you have made'," the lawyer added.

In effect, Shashvat's public statement backs Suhail to continue on the board of directors, as his appointment as CEO and board member had originally been agreed upon by Shashvat and Ashneer Grover, who is at loggerheads with BharatPe.

Ashneer went on a temporary leave of absence on January 19, ten days before BharatPe publicly announced an internal audit review to maintain the highest standards of corporate governance.

Since then, Ashneer has demanded he be allowed to continue as Managing Director and run the company, or have his stake acquired for Rs 4,000 crore.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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