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upGrad's CEO Arjun Mohan resigns

Mohan joined the company in April 2020 from competitor Byju’s where he last served as the chief business officer.

By  Storyboard 18Jan 10, 2023 8:48 PM
upGrad's CEO Arjun Mohan resigns
In 2022, the entire focus was on digital. Digital media spends of the company went up by 20 percent. Television took a complete backseat in the company’s marketing playbook. In fact, after their partnership with Shark Tank India, upGrad had zero spends on television between March and December

Edtech firm upGrad's chief executive Arjun Mohan has resigned, the company has confirmed to Storyboard18.

"I have decided to move out of upGrad after almost 3 years of service as the CEO India business. My last day of employment will be 15th Jan," Mohan told Storyboard18 in a statement.

Without divulging the details of his next move, Mohan says that he is currently in an exploration phase and figuring out the next steps as in if he will join an organization or start something of his own.

"One thing I’m clear about is that I want to continue working in edtech and education. We started off our work in edtech with an audacious aim of making education in India accessible, affordable and high quality and I think still there is a lot of work left there. So, I plan to continue this work and make a difference," he says.

Mohan joined the company in April 2020 from competitor Byju’s where he last served as the chief business officer. His decade long stint with the company had major focus on developing and growing sales & marketing at the firm. Prior to Byju’s, Mohan drove sales and operations at Titan Industries and did his stints with Tata Motors, Tata Realty and Infrastructure Ltd. (TRIL) and Sir Dorabji Tata and Allied Trusts.

It is to be noted that the edtech firms are facing severe pressure to cut costs and become profitable as online education demand is slowly waning off with lockdowns opening up and plummeting covid-19 cases.

upGrad is backed by investors such as Temasek and James Murdoch's Lupa Systems. It was valued at more than $2 billion last year and offers online MBA and executive education courses by partnering with local and foreign universities.

It competes with edtech firm Byju's which is backed by investors including Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic.

Interestingly, Ankit Khirwal, head of marketing, upGrad, told Storyboard18 in an earlier interview, that the company aims to increase brand spends to tapping new markets. He says that their brand spends for 2023 will go up by 40 percent. There will be push to promote the mother brand through all amplification activities.

“We realized that probably we were spreading ourselves too thin. So we are re-strategizing our overall communications. We’d be promoting our mother brand with the target of establishing it as the most preferred and trusted place for upskilling,” Khirwal, head of marketing, upGrad, told Storyboard18.

As a part of the re-strategizing initiative, upGrad is also looking at bringing in changes to media channels investments.

In 2022, the entire focus was on digital. Digital media spends of the company went up by 20 percent. Television took a complete backseat in the company’s marketing playbook. In fact, after their partnership with Shark Tank India, upGrad had zero spends on television between March and December.

That equation is also set to change in 2022, although with a twist in the type of media spends.

The company plans to make students, mentors, recruiting agencies and other direct stakeholders the ambassadors in all marketing communications for the year.

upGrad, which works with an in house creative team, will focus on telling real-life success stories in advertisements and other communications. However, Khirwal says there will be no change in investments in social influencers as they’d continue to endorse the brand even in 2023.

First Published on Jan 10, 2023 7:10 PM