Ola employees have revealed founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal’s ruthless and abrasive behaviour at work alienated staff and upset board members, according to a report.
Inside Ola Electric, the culture has turned hostile over the last couple of years, over two dozen present and former Ola employees, who chose to remain anonymous, have told Bloomberg in several interviews.
In meetings, claim current and former employees, Mr Aggarwal tore up presentations because of a missing page number, liberally used Punjabi epithets towards staff and called teams “useless”.
Meetings scheduled for an hour often lasted 10 minutes because Mr Aggarwal would lose patience over a sentence construction in a memo, a crooked paper clip or the quality of printing paper, the report said quoting employees.
“Not everybody is a fit for our culture,” Mr Aggarwal told Bloomberg when asked about his management style. “There’s no world standard on an even, sterile work environment.”
In one incident, says the report, he reportedly asked an employee to run three laps around the several-acre-large Ola Futurefactory, marketed as the world’s largest electric two-wheeler plant. Reason: a shuttered entryway that should have been left open.
Mr Aggarwal told Bloomberg that he wants to build companies with lasting impact, even if that means rubbing some people the wrong way.
“Passions and emotions run high and we are not on an easy journey,” Aggarwal told the agency in an interview last month at Ola Electric’s swanky headquarters in Bengaluru. “But I don’t want to choose an easier journey for myself or for Ola. My anger, my frustration — that’s me as a whole.”
The fallout – retaining employees, particularly at the top management level. Some executives, including Zilingo’s former chief financial officer Ramesh Bafna, decided not to join Ola Electric days after formally accepting employment offers, the report added.
Mr Aggarwal’s relentless pace and management style is a vexing issue, say employees.
The 37-year-old has big ambition for Ola Electric to rival the likes of Elon Musk’s Tesla and Chinese conglomerate BYD Company.