Ola appoints new Managing Director for Australia
Indian ride-hailing platform Ola has announced the appointment of a new Managing Director for Australia. Simon Smith will head up the firm’s burgeoning Australian business, having held previous positions as CEO of eBay Australia and Non-Executive Director at Sportsbet.
Ola launched in Australia in January this year, its first venture outside of India. It now has over 30,000 driver partners in the country, and operates in the cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Canberra, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
The Indian company was originally founded in 2011 by current CEO Bhavish Aggarwal and CTO Ankit Bhati. Throughout India and now Australia, the company now operates across 100 cities with over a million driver partners across cars, auto-rickshaws and taxis. Ola says it is “driven by a hyperlocal approach” and “committed to its mission of building mobility for a billion people”.
Smith will be responsible for developing the Ola leadership team and building on the company’s presence in Australia through strategy, marketing, product development and customer service, as well as engagement with driver-partners and other stakeholders.
Smith commented: “I relish building organisations from the ground up and 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.”
He later added: “I was interested in leading a business that is community oriented, growing quickly, has technology at the heart and a ‘data for good’ approach where data is used to solve problems at the core of society. Ola provides all of those in spades.”
The development comes at a time when Asian businesses are looking to the growing ride-hailing market in Australia. For example, Chinese company Didi Chuxing launched in Australia on 25th June, beginning its Australian expansion in Melbourne. This is likely to create more competition for local firms as well as Ola, and points to a business model that is here to stay throughout Asia Pacific.
Aggarwal has expressed his excitement at the new appointment. “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 customers and tens of thousands of driver partners.”
Digital Leader Mobiquity Expands Into Asia-Pacific
As an international digital consulting firm, Mobiquity helps a global client base upgrade its digital banking and financial services. The company employs 1,200 team members across 50+ nationalities and serves an estimated 200+ million users each day. Recently, the company built out a digital banking experience for the Bank of the Philippines Islands’ online and mobile platforms—exemplifying its mission to help leading brands engage with technology in meaningful ways.
To highlight Mobiquity’s services, here are a few of the company’s recent accomplishments:
- Designed and developed the first FDA-approved digital medicine system
- Launched a five-star mobile ordering app
- Pioneered a cloud-based IT infrastructure that prevented bank fraud
- Built the official AWS re:Invent 2017 and 2018 mobile apps
What Makes Mobiquity Stand Out?
According to Mobiquity, it's the people that make all the difference. ‘We’re born innovators who like meaty challenges’, the company wrote. ‘We go deeper, getting to the root of your customers’ friction and creating personalised engagements that deliver much more than a digital experience alone’. Now, the company has added former Microsoft and IBM director Gustavo Quiroga to its team.
Who Is Gustavo Quiroga?
At Mobiquity, he’ll be the first Vice President of Business Development Financial Services in APAC. With years of experience in the industry, Quiroga has developed numerous tech, business, and customer experience projects: at Microsoft, he led a top Aussie Azure Data and AI specialist team, and at IBM, he applied AI and deep analytics to transform the company’s business processes, CX, and UX.
Based in Sydney, Australia, Quiroga will start to work with Mobiquity clients in Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines and take responsibility for expanding the company’s regional operations. ‘Our best way to impact client outcomes’, he wrote, ‘is by listening to them with an inquisitive and open mind and empowering our people to do the same’.
When notified of the announcement, Quiroga expressed excitement over his new role. ‘I’m delighted to join Mobiquity and support the company’s rapid expansion across the Asia-Pacific region. I joined Mobiquity to develop, design and implement digital products and services that create meaningful experiences with customers...and I look forward to using my expertise to develop partnerships where we can achieve this every day’.
Where Does Mobiquity Go From Here?
In the past six months, Mobiquity has hired over 100 new employees, including the high-profile additions of Howard Moore, Senior Director of Banking, and Ruby Walia, Senior Advisor for Digital Banking. This falls in line with the company’s hyper-growth strategy to deliver digital products to the world.
As Matthew Williamson, Mobiquity’s Vice President of Global Financial Services, explained: ‘Our appointment of Gustavo demonstrates [our] commitment to hiring an A-list team of talent. The latest addition to the Mobiquity team supports our vision of global growth in Asia-Pacific, as a recognised partner within the banking and finance ecosystem’.