Zomato to take on board EY dealmaker Nitin Savara, may get senior finance role



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Two months after making an impressive debut on the bourses, food-tech platform Zomato is now looking to beef up its finance function by tapping top talent from the Big Four, multiple industry sources have told Moneycontrol.

“Zomato is in talks to take on board Nitin Savara, a senior partner at EY,” one of the sources said. Ernst & Young, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and KPMG are four of the biggest accounting firms in the United States.

With over 20 years of experience, Savara, a chartered accountant and a lawyer, specialises in transaction tax and structuring.

“Savara is slated to join the current CFO Akshant Goyal’s team. The plan as of now is to groom him for a few months post joining and he may later take up a senior finance role,” a second person familiar with the deliberations said.

Also Read: Customers won’t pay more, but new GST structure to impact restaurants, food delivery apps; here’s how

Two other persons confirmed Savara’s imminent move to Zomato, adding he had resigned and worked on the firm’s Rs 9,375-crore initial public offering, which was the first by a tech firm in India.

All four persons spoke to Moneycontrol on the condition of anonymity.

When contacted, EY declined to comment and we could not elicit a response from Savara who was unavailable.

“It’s been less than a year since Akshant took over as the Chief Financial Officer at Zomato. He led the charge for our IPO and has been doing a tremendous job. The company has full confidence in Akshant under this role. That said, we are in talks with a few folks to join Akshant’s team here at Zomato,” a spokesperson of the Gurugram-based company said in response to an email query from Moneycontrol.

Multiple people have served as CFO at Zomato in the last few years. Goyal, who was the head of corporate development, was named the CFO in October 2020.

His predecessor Akriti Chopra, who was earlier at PwC, became the head of people development and was named co-founder in June 2021.

Before Chopra, Sameer Maheshwari, a former GE executive, was the CFO. He quit six months into the job in December 2018 and is now with Pine Labs.

Waves of change

Earlier this month, Zomato co-founder Gaurav Gupta announced his resignation. “I am taking a new turn in my life and will be starting a new chapter, taking a lot from this defining chapter of my life—the last six years at Zomato,” Gupta wrote to employees.

Gupta, who joined Zomato in 2015, was made the Chief Operating Officer in 2018 and a founder in 2019. He was the face of the company in the run-up to the IPO, leading discussions with investors and the media.

Also Read: Food aggregator apps like Zomato, Swiggy to pay GST on restaurant services, says FM Nirmala Sitharaman

Since its listing, Zomato has witnessed a churn. It shuttered its grocery delivery service, nutrition business as well as international subsidiaries in the US, the UK, and Singapore.

Savara—the new dealmaker on Zomato menu

According to a profile by IFLR, Savara has extensive experience in advising clients across public and private market transactions, including IPO structuring for domestic and international capital markets, M&A, delisting and minority buyouts.

He advises on strategic matters, Indian tax, international tax, exchange control and other related areas.

Savara has been with EY for a little more than eight years according to his Linkedin profile. Before EY, he had stints at BMR Advisors and Arthur Anderson.

Also Read: Grocery delivery lessons that Swiggy learnt, and why Zomato failed

In 2020, EY partners Charanjit Attra and V Krishnakumar quit to take on senior roles in India Inc. Moneycontrol, on August 30, 2020, was the first to report that Attra, a partner in Financial Accounting Advisory Services (FAAS), would join State Bank of India as CFO.

Moneycontrol also broke the story of pharma investment banking partner Krishnakumar joining private equity fund ChrysCapital-backed mid-cap branded formulations player Eris Lifesciences as an Executive Director.

Talent hunt

The year 2021 has been a busy one for the advisory world, as key personnel have moved to join rivals or take up positions in India Inc, especially the startup and e-commerce segment.

For instance, former PwC India advisory leader Deepankar Sanwalka joined India’s most valuable startup Paytm’s core leadership team as President (enterprise functions).

On April 16, 2021, as reported by Moneycontrol, Roshan Thomas, a partner at law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas headed to Byju’s as group general counsel.

Law firm L&L Partner Damini Bhalla joined Zomato as the general counsel in March.

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