Ola to lay off 1,400 employees as COVID-19 crisis hits revenue

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Bengaluru: Ride-sharing company Ola Cabs said on Wednesday it will lay off 1,400 of its employees due to business uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic while the revenue has come down by 95 per cent in the past two months.

“The COVID crisis continues to unfold all around us causing unprecedented economic and social destruction. It has also become evident that the coronavirus will not be eliminated any time soon,” wrote co-founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal to all Ola employees.

“In these circumstances, today I write to all of you with the toughest decision I have ever taken — the need to downsize our organisation and let go of 1,400 of our valued employees,” he said.

Aggarwal said the fallout of virus has been very tough for the cab aggregating industry in particular. “The company’s revenue has come down by 95 per cent over the past two months,” he said.

Initially, he said, the company hoped it would be a short-lived crisis and that its impact would be temporary. “But unfortunately, it is not been a short crisis. And the prognosis ahead for our business is very unclear and uncertain. It is going to take a long time for people to go out and about like before.”

With more companies preferring to have a large number of employees work from home, air travel limited to essential trips and vacations being put off for better times, the impact of this crisis is definitely going to be long-drawn, said Aggarwal.

“The world is not going to revert to the pre-COVID era anytime soon. Social distancing, anxiety and an abundance of caution will be the operating principles for everyone,” he told employees.

Aggarwal said the crisis necessitates the need to conserve cash aggressively so that Ola is able to invest in opportunities in the future, adding the downsizing exercise has been a very tough and sad decision for the management team to make.

“While we restructure our organisation to the new realities of our business, we are also going to recommit ourselves to strengthening our operational excellence and leverage a lot more technology to improve efficiencies and reduce cost across all parts of our business,” he said. (ANI)

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