Byju CEO's townhall leaves employees with lingering questions, uncertainty
CEO Byju Raveendran reassured employees of the enduring importance of the edtech sector. However, concerns over layoffs and financial matters remained unanswered
After weeks of silence, Byju Raveendran, co-founder and CEO of Byju's, sought to restore employee confidence following the recent resignations of three board members and the company's auditor, Deloitte.
In a town hall meeting on Thursday morning, Raveendran reassured employees of Byju's comeback and emphasised the enduring importance of the edtech sector. However, concerns over layoffs and financial matters remained unanswered, leaving employees with lingering uncertainties. Despite the challenges, Raveendran expressed optimism about the future of India's edtech industry, citing the profitability of several significant acquisitions.
Last week, news broke that GV Ravishankar of Sequoia Capital India, Vivian Wu of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Russel Dreisenstock of Prosus resigned from the board due to differences with Raveendran. Deloitte's resignation as the auditor was described as a mutual decision, prompting the appointment of Ajay Goel as the new CFO to address the company's financial reporting delays.
While discussing the company's ongoing issues, Raveendran assured employees that the discussions with term loan B lenders were progressing positively, with promising developments expected in the coming weeks. Employees, however, claimed to be left with a continuing sense of uncertainty and a need for clarity regarding several crucial matters. Despite the CEO's attempt to address concerns, questions about layoffs, salary hikes, incentives, and provident fund payments were not immediately answered, leaving employees in a state of ambiguity.
This lack of transparency contributed to frustration among the workforce, as they sought clear and concrete information regarding their employment and financial well-being. The absence of immediate responses to their pressing queries further intensified the employees' apprehension about their future within the organisation.
Queries raised by employees during the town hall concerned potential layoffs, salary hikes, incentives, and provident fund payments. As a chat option was deactivated, their questions remained unanswered, leaving them needing more clarity on these crucial matters.
Adding to this unease was Byju's recently initiated another round of layoffs, expected to affect 500-1,000 full-time employees across various departments. This follows the significant layoffs of around 2,500 employees in October last year. As the Times of India reported, the current wave of layoffs primarily impacts sales, marketing, product, and other teams.
Despite the prevailing challenges, Raveendran maintained his optimism about the future of India's edtech sector. He highlighted the substantial potential for growth within the industry and mentioned that four out of Byju's six major acquisitions are already profitable. Notably, Aakash, Great Learning, and Tynker were cited as successful ventures. The CEO and co-founder reaffirmed his belief that Byju's will continue to thrive in the long run.