Deepak Mehrotra has been chosen as the MD and CEO of the Aakash Institute. Byju’s creator recognized his commercial aptitude. Ranjan Pai, chairman of the Manipal Group, currently owns 40% of Aakash.

Deepak Mehrotra

Aakash Institute, which Byju owns, has hired Deepak Mehrotra as its managing director and chief executive officer, according to a statement released on Monday. Mehrotra has over 35 years of executive experience in areas like FMCG, telecom, and education.

Mehrotra formerly served as Managing Director of Ashirvad Pipes before joining AESL. Mehrotra has over 35 years of executive experience in the FMCG, telecom, and education industries, having worked for companies such as Pearson India, Bharti Airtel, Coca-Cola, and Asian Paints.

“In his role as CEO, he will be responsible for delivering on our aggressive growth strategy and building on the company’s present momentum. His financial acumen and great record as Pearson India’s managing director will be critical in guiding Aakash Byju’s into its next phase of growth and impact,” stated Byju Raveendran, founder and chairman of Byju’s.

Aakash, which provides NEET, IIT-JEE, Olympiad NTSE, classroom, and remote courses for engineering and medical students, has been preparing for its initial public offering (IPO), which could launch this year.

Byju’s declared in June 2023 that Aakash would go public during the next year, perhaps in June 2024. In November, Aakash raised $168 million from Manipal Education and Medical Group chairman Ranjan Pai to repay the debt incurred from Davidson Kempner in May of last year.

ET initially reported on March 28 that the brick-and-mortar coaching firm has scrapped plans for Aakash Chaudhry, the promoter of the coaching business segment, to return to the helm of affairs. With considerable changes in Aakash’s roster, Chaudhry’s comeback appeared increasingly unlikely, and the talks recently fell apart, according to ET.

Ranjan Pai, the chairman of the Manipal Group, owns 40% of Aakash and has invested in additional funds for everyday operations as well. Insiders said he is seen as a key decision-maker at Aakash.

The Chaudhrys still own approximately 11% of Aakash, with investment fund Blackstone holding 7%. Raveendran and Byju’s parent company, Think & Learn, jointly own the remaining ownership.

According to ET on April 6, Pai, the largest investor in Aakash Institute, is distancing himself from Byju against investor conflict and protecting his stakes in Byju’s group companies.

Pai has filed a complaint with the Singapore Arbitration Council (Singapore International Arbitration Centre) about a $42 million loan made to Think and Learn. Pai was instrumental in addressing Raveendran’s debt issues with Davidson Kempner last year.

Aakash has yet to announce FY23 results, however, it recorded a roughly 45% increase in operational revenue in FY22. At the same time, it reported an 82% increase in profit to Rs 79.5 crore in FY22 and expects to exceed Rs 2,000 crore in revenue in the fiscal year ending March 2023.