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Peak XV, Prosus, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative confirm resignations from BYJU's Board

Earlier today, a report stated that BYJU'S is engaged in discussions with three board members of the company who stepped down from their positions.

Peak XV, Prosus, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative confirm resignations from BYJU's Board

Friday June 23, 2023 , 4 min Read

Peak XV Partners' GV Ravishankar, Prosus's Russell Dreisenstock, and Chan Zuckerberg's Vivian Wu have officially stepped down from the board of edtech firm BYJU'S, the companies confirmed late Friday evening.

This comes a day after media reports stated that the three key board members of BYJU'S—GV Ravishankar, Managing Director at Peak XV Partners (formerly Sequoia Capital India), Russell Dreisenstock of Prosus (previously Naspers), and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Vivian Wu—have resigned.

"Prosus confirms that Russell Dreisenstock, the representing Board Director from MIH Edtech Investments, B.V. (a Prosus entity) on the board of Think & Learn Private Limited, resigned from his position. The Company is required to file the resignation letter with the MCA in India within the required time period," Prosus said in a statement.

Peak XV also confirmed that GV Ravishankar resigned from the board of Think & Learn Pvt Ltd. "We are committed to supporting the company for bringing on board an independent director in order to strengthen business processes and internal control mechanisms," the firm said in a separate statement.

"We confirm that Vivian Wu of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has resigned from the board of Think & Learn Private Limited," a spokesperson at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative said in response to YourStory's queries.

A BYJU'S spokesperson said, "The management has been engaging with investors in constructive discussions on the reconstitution of the board at BYJU'S, including the induction of independent directors. The need for reconstitution arose as few investors had to vacate the board seat due to their shareholding falling below a minimum required threshold as per our SHA."

"We want to reassure all stakeholders that we are actively working towards constituting a diverse and world-class board commensurate with the company’s size and scale," the statement added.

On Thursday, BYJU’S had denied reports of the three board members resigning. "A recent media report suggesting the resignations of board members from BYJU'S is entirely speculative. BYJU'S firmly denies these claims and urges media publications to refrain from spreading unverified information or engaging in baseless speculation,” a BYJU'S spokesperson told YourStory in response to emailed queries.

"Any significant developments or changes within our organisation are shared through official channels and announcements..." the company added.

Earlier today, Reuters reported the Bengaluru-based company is engaged in discussions with three board members of the company who stepped down from their positions.

The collective decision by the investors to resign stemmed from a lack of communication from BYJU’S founder and senior management, the report noted. Over the past few months, BYJU’S investors have expressed concerns to the company's leadership, particularly regarding audit delays and the handling of issues concerning lenders, it added.

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The edtech unicorn is already grappling with the aftermath of its auditor's resignation and ongoing legal challenges related to a $1.2 billion term loan B (TLB). 

On June 22, auditing firm Deloitte Haskins & Sells resigned as BYJU’S and Aakash’s statutory auditor. Deloitte attributed its resignation to the delay in the company filing its FY22 financial statements

Now, the Bengaluru-based firm has appointed BDO (MSKA & Associates) as its statutory auditor for the year commencing from FY22 for the next five years.

Earlier today, CNBC-TV18 reported that the Ministry of Corporate Affairs ordered an inspection against BYJU'S last week, adding that the ministry has taken cognizance of various corporate governance lapses at the company.

However, BYJU’S denied the media reports, saying “We have not received any such correspondence from MCA regarding this, and are not aware of any such inspection.”

The edtech unicorn has been plagued with mounting losses, layoffs, and pending loans after the end of the pandemic-led edtech boom. Earlier this week, it initiated another round of job cuts that will impact more than 1,000 people.

(The copy was updated with a statement from BYJU'S and Chan Zuckerberg.)

Edited by Kanishk Singh