WhatsApp’s global business head, Neeraj Arora resigned from the board of directors of Paytm’s parent One97 Communications. Sources told MediaNama that Arora had in fact quit the board a few weeks back. He had been appointed to the board back in June 2015, along with Facebook’s Ruchi Sanghvi, and InMobi founder Naveen Tewari.
It’s worth noting that last week, WhatsApp began testing its Unified Payments Interface (UPI) based payments feature by releasing it to select users in India. Following which, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma said that it would kill the “open UPI system with its custom close garden implementation.” And now, according to this ET report, Sharma will apparently petition to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which developed UPI, asking for a level-playing field for all payments service providers. Given that Arora resigned from the One97 board weeks before Sharma’s public outburst, the two are not linked in anyway.
WhatsApp’s UPI-based payments feature was first noticed on a beta version of the app, back in August 2017. Around the same time, Paytm was planning to launch a messaging service embedded in its payments app. At the time, media outlets had positioned this as Paytm taking aim at Whatsapp, but the hype was unwarranted. Plus, Arora was still on the board of Paytm.
Arora had joined WhatsApp back in November 2011, before Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of the messaging service. Prior to WhatsApp, Arora was a part of Google’s corporate development team for four years, and responsible for acquisition and investment deals. Before that he was the chief manager at Times Internet Limited for a year and a half.
*The article has been edited for clarity.