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redBus founders Phanindra Sama and Charan Kumar Raju to leave; Prakash Sangam appointed CEO


Just a year after Ibibo group acquired the online bus booking portal redBus, redBus founders Phanindra Sama and Charan Kumar Raju have exited the company. Following this, Ibibo group has appointed Prakash Sangam as the CEO of redBus.

Sangam was previously the Executive Vice President at Info Edge India (Naukri group), heading two group businesses namely Shiksha.com and Jeevansathi.com. He was with the Naukri group for over 5 years. Before that, Sangam was the GM, Marketing and innovation at Airtel. He’s also worked at Hindustan Unilever in multiple roles across Marketing, Brand Management and Sales.

Along with this appointment, Ibibo Group has also appointed Rohan Patnaik as Head of Supply and Operations and Anoop Menon who will be heading the entire engineering function at redBus. This includes redBus.in, BOGDS (Bus operator facing platform) and SeatSeller (Agent facing platform). Menon was part of the Ibibo founding team and had moved to redBus post acquisition as the CTO of the consumer facing business.

Ibibo group had acquired 80% stake in redBus for around $101 million in June last year. Ibibo CEO Ashish Kashyap had then said that redBus will be operating as an independent business in its current travel portfolio which includes GoIbibo and Travel Boutique Online.

However, the company had reportedly witnessed multiple exits at the senior management level few months later, due to issues related to how the employee stock options (ESOPs) were dealt with, wherein only the founding team and select employees (not more than three) apparently benefited majorly from the acquisition while the rest of employees were left out. (Also readPhanindra Sama on the trickiness of providing ESOPs to employees)

While this is probably not related, redBus CMO Lakshmikant Gupta had also quit just about an year into his appointment, and had joined Jaipur-based Girnar Software in the same position last month.

In April this year, redBus added a hotel booking section on its site, allowing users to search and book hotels across the country. Ibibo group also acquired bus tracking company YourBus for an undisclosed amount in March this year and had stated plans of integrating this service into redBus.

Additional reading
redBus.in Witnessing Senior Management Exodus Over ESOPs: Report
– Key Events In redBus’s Journey : A Timeline
– Is The Redbus Exit Really Good For The Venture Ecosystem In India? – Anand Lunia
– “Exits Are Rare In India. When One Comes Along, You Take It”: Phanindra Sama – StartupCentral

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