Ride-sharing platform Ola is strengthening its presence in Australia with the appointment of Simon Smith as Managing Director. Simon will head and develop the leadership team and play a pivotal role in building Ola’s presence including strategy, marketing, product development, customer service, and engagement with driver-partners and other stakeholders.
Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-Founder & CEO, Ola stated, “I’m really excited to have Simon join us as MD. Simon is a very entrepreneurial and strategic leader who has demonstrated strong business and people leadership in his career. He will lead Ola’s mission to build the future of mobility in Australia and create impact for the millions of consumers and tens of thousands of driver partners.”
In his previous roles, Simon was the Chief Executive Officer of eBay Australia, Non-Executive Director of Sportsbet, VP of Virtual Offices at Servcorp and a consultant at McKinsey and Company.
Speaking of his new position, Simon stated, “I relish building organizations from the ground up and I am delighted to join the ranks at Ola. It’s rare to find a brand like Ola that has built its success on a community-first approach, and that is committed to giving driver-partners a better deal with industry-leading commissions.”
Ola is currently available in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane and the Gold Coast and shortly will launch in Adelaide. Since launching in January this year, the company claims to have received a positive response from driver-partners with close to 40,000 registrations.
The ride sharing platform’s current focus in the country is on investing in driver-partners and supporting them with new technology, training and ways to increase earnings. As per the company’s claims, Ola's driver-partners are starting with a commission rate of 7.5%. Ola is also the first ride-sharing company in Australia to offer daily payments to driver-partners.
Meanwhile, in India, in a leadership change in May, Ola’s COO, Vishal Kaul had resigned from the post as he planned to join a new organization. In the same month, to boost company’s valuation and to improve the management of its businesses, Ola announced it is adopting a holding company structure similar to that of Flipkart. The holding company will own different units, including its core cab business, food delivery app Foodpanda and the nascent businesses of electric vehicles and the international unit.