Shark Tank’s Ashneer Grover finds himself in the quicksand of legal troubles as his pugnacious leadership comes to light.
Indians are glued to their screens and for a change, the reason is not the political rants on 24×7 news channels. Shark Tank India is the new household name echoing in families- the show that is deciphering the nitty-gritty of entrepreneurship for everyone.
Business owners appear on the show to pitch and persuade the panel of seven investors for funding. However, out of the seven high-profile sharks, one has hit the forefront of limelight and for all the wrong reasons.
Founder and Managing Director of BharatPe, Ashneer Grover has earned the show some TRP due to his brash and unfiltered behavior with contestants.
However, the same has landed him in grave trouble in real life. So much that the old skeletons from the closet are out and Grover is being called out by employees for “horrible” leadership style.
Why is BharatPe’s Ashneer Grover in news?
There are multiple reasons for why Ashneer Grover is making headlines. Recently, an audio clip featuring 39 years old fintech founder went viral. Grover can be heard rebuking an employee of Kotak Mahindra Bank over the financing of Nykaa IPO although he called the clip fake.
Later, Ashneer Grover deleted his tweet where he claimed the audio clip was circulated by “some scamster” for extorting Bitcoins worth $240,000 from him.
While the incident sounds like trouble for BharatPe founder, this is not all. The event led to unfurling of a myriad of scrutiny that is full of twists and turns for the shark who appears to be drowning.
Ashneer Grover — A Lesson On What Leadership Is “Not”
BharatPe’s founder Ashneer Grover is the perfect case study of how a leader should not be.
As a synopsis of Grover’s tumultuous professional mishaps, his pugnacious working and leadership style has resulted in resignation of several top-level executives so far. Under his leadership, highly toxic work environment has thrived within organizations.
Some of the most essential leadership traits are empathy, collaboration, communication and flexibilty, among many others. Ashneer Grover lacks in all of these.
The specimen of Grover’s disrespectful approach towards people can be witnessed in Shark Tank. He has not only passed insulting remarks to the product pitches but also the contestants.
He has also been accused of threatening Harshjit Sethi, Managing Director at Sequoia India with aggressive messages in mail in August 2020. The reason of the feud was delay in a funding as Sequoia India was BharatPe’s one of the early investors.
Colleagues, college batch mates and employees unison on Grover’s bizarre social conduct.
When asked by Economic Times about the controversy surrounding BharatPe’s founder, a mid-level executive from the organization said, “Are you really surprised? He is always been like this. The only difference is, this time, it is out in public.”
Another venture capitalist told ET, “Grover has been allowed to get away with this so far. As long as he was getting new investors at a higher valuation, the board ignored everything else. It all boils down to money.”
What is worse than being a bad conversationalist and lacking empathy is the absence of accountability. Nothing reflects more on BharatPe Ashneer Grover’s terrible leadership than his lack of self-awareness. A far cry from accepting and apologizing for all the professional wrongdoings, Grover chose to call the allegations fake in a deleted tweet-
Folks. Chill. It is a fake audio by some scamster trying to extort funds ($240,000 bitcoins). I refused to buckle. I have got more character. And, internet has got enough scamsters.
Gritty road of Grover’s moral and financial audits
Following a multitude of scrutiny, BharatPe board announced independent audit — 10 days after Grover went on leave with his wife on Jan 19. While the fintech founder said that he expected “amicable resolution”, things started appearing south when he hired a law firm.
The preliminary report of the audit released on Feb 4 revealed financial fraud by Grover and his wife Madhuri Grover. The fraud encompasses irregularities in payments including paying to non-existing vendors and employees and recruiting staff that does not exist.
During the period the financial fraud took place, Madhuri Grover headed the admin and procurement department of BharatPe.