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BYJU’S India CEO Arjun Mohan steps down; Byju Raveendran takes operational control

Meanwhile, the beleaguered edtech firm is consolidating its businesses into three focused divisions: the learning app, online classes and tuition centres, and test prep.

BYJU’S India CEO Arjun Mohan steps down; Byju Raveendran takes operational control

Monday April 15, 2024 , 4 min Read

BYJU’S India chief executive officer (CEO) Arjun Mohan has stepped down just seven months after officially taking on the role, marking yet another top exit from the troubled edtech firm.

BYJU'S Founder and Group CEO, Byju Raveendran, will take “a more hands-on approach in spearheading the daily operations” of the edtech company, while Mohan will transition to an external advisory role, the firm said.

“Arjun has done an outstanding job steering BYJU’S through a challenging period,” Raveendran said.

Mohan, who was a part of BYJU’S founding team, last served as the chief business officer. He was upGrad’s CEO while he was away from BYJU’S. He rejoined Byju's in July.

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Structural reorganisation

Amidst the leadership shuffle at the helm, the beleaguered edtech firm has also announced a reorganisation aimed at streamlining operations. It is consolidating its businesses into three focused divisions: the learning app, online classes and tuition centres, and test prep.

Each of these units will be led by separate leaders who will independently oversee the businesses to ensure sustainable profitability, BYJU’S noted. This new structure will enable each vertical to be nimbler, cost-efficient, and better equipped to capitalise on market opportunities, it added.

“This reorganisation marks the start of BYJU’S 3.0—a leaner and more agile organisation ready to quickly adapt to evolving market dynamics, especially in the realm of hyper-personalised education,” Raveendran, said.

“By focusing on our core strengths with three specialised business units, we will unlock new growth opportunities while continuing to focus on profitability,” he added.

Back in September, the edtech firm had said that Mohan was working on a “business restructuring exercise to simplify operating structures, reduce the cost base and better cash flow management”.

The company was also expected to carry out a workforce reduction affecting over 5,000 permanent and contractual employees as part of the restructuring effort. 

During the past months, several senior executives have departed from BYJU’S. Earlier this month, the company initiated another round of job cuts affecting more than 500 people.

BYJU’S current employee count is estimated to be between 12,000 and 13,000, down from the peak of over 50,000 during 2022. It is expected to reduce its headcount to under 10,000 employees as individuals seek alternative opportunities due to the company’s struggle to meet payroll.

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BYJU’S battles

Apart from a severe liquidity crunch, BYJU's is locked in a tussle with a group of prominent investors, including Prosus, General Atlantic, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Peak XV.

The investors have sought to void the $200-million rights issue initiated in January by appealing to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

In an order dated February 27, the NCLT directed that the funds received by BYJU’S for the rights issue be placed in a separate escrow account, with instructions not to withdraw them until the disposal of the oppression and mismanagement suit filed by a group of four investors against the management of the company.

On April 4, during the first hearing at the NCLT Bengaluru bench following BYJU’S extraordinary general meeting on March 29 to increase the authorised share capital for the rights issue, the edtech firm sought arbitration in the matter concerning the dissatisfied investors.

The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for April 23.

BYJU’S is also engaged in a legal dispute with some of its investors in the Karnataka High Court.

The cracks between the investors and BYJU’S management first became apparent when Peak XV Partners’ GV Ravishankar, Prosus’s Russell Dreisenstock, and Chan Zuckerberg’s Vivian Wu officially stepped down from the edtech firm’s board in June last year, citing governance and reporting lapses.

Since last July, BYJU’S has faced a string of challenges, including the Davidson Kempner issue, resolved with Ranjan Pai's intervention; an escalation of the $1.2-billion term loan B dispute, resulting in insolvency proceedings; bankruptcy filing by BYJU’S' American unit Alpha; government-initiated inspection of BYJU’S' accounts; show cause notices from ED for FEMA violation; and the departure of CFO Ajay Goel after just six months.

(The story has been updated with more information.)

Edited by Swetha Kannan