Google Pay, the digital payments arm of tech giant Google, has roped in former Axis Bank chief executive officer Shikha Sharma as an advisor.
Caesar Sengupta, the company’s vice president for payments and the NBU (next billion users) initiative took to social media Twitter to announce the appointment.
Sharma brings with her a decades of experience in the banking sector and will be a valuable asset for Google which is trying to foray as a major financial services player in India. While it has started with core offerings around bill payments and person to person payments, Google intends to expand into creating a merchant ecosystem in the country and offer a variety of financial services.
"Thrilled to welcome Mrs Shikha Sharma, ex-CEO of Axis Bank, as an advisor to Google Pay India, Shikhaji has been an early champion of bank-tech partnerships, and a mentor to us. Now her strategic thinking and guidance will help us accelerate our global payments journey," Sengupta tweeted.
Google offers UPI based payments in India in partnership with four major banks: HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and State Bank of India. It is one of the largest players in the UPI space a position it has attained within a couple of years of its launch.
According to numbers shared by the company in September 2019, Google Pay has 67 million monthly active users and $110 billion of total payments value on annualised basis.
Sharma had an eventful career as a banker. She had joined Axis in 2009 after having a successful stint in the ICICI Group and led the bank till 2018 transforming it into a major retail player. In June 2018 while being in the fourth term of leading the bank, she sought retirement by end of the year. Sharma also serves in the board of IT major Tech Mahindra as an independent director."I am a deep believer in the potential of fintech to create great value for users as well as traditional financial systems. I have had the opportunity to interact with the Google Pay team since the early days of their business in India and have been very impressed by their vision of making payments and financial services simple and easy for everyone," said Sharma.