Mobile payments and ecommerce firm Paytm has appointed former Boston Scientific Corporation and ITC executive Varun Khullar as the head of partnerships division at its proposed payment bank, for which it has started building the leadership team.
Prior to joining Paytm, Khullar, an alumnus of IIT Madras and Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, worked with medical devices firm Boston Scientific Corporation for about three years, besides having stints with consulting firm McKinsey and Co and tobacco-to-hotels conglomerate ITC. “Varun will be part of Paytm’s proposed payment bank and will be leading the relationship with our potential partners, including insurance companies, banks and non-banking financial institutions,” said Amit Sinha, vice-president-business and people at Paytm.
Khullar’s appointment comes about three weeks after the largest mobile payments and services company in the country, which is backed by Alibaba Group and Ant Financial, named former Amazon India executive Vikas Purohit to lead the proposed payment bank’s offline expansion of its agent network. Both Khullar and Purohit, who till recently headed the fashion and lifestyle category at Amazon India, hold the position of vice-president in the organisation. “We’re hoping to have most of the major positions covered in the next three to four months,” Sinha said.
In August 2015, Paytm, along with 10 other entities, received in-principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India to start payment banks in the country, as part of the central bank’s efforts to enhance financial inclusion and promote cashless payment services. The others in the list include telecom companies Vodafone and Airtel; non-banking financial company Cholamandalam Distribution Services; large conglomerates Reliance Ind and Aditya Birla Nuvo and Dilip Shanghvi of Sun Pharma.
As per the rules laid down by RBI, the proposed payment banks will be allowed to undertake limited banking services, such as accept deposits, offer payments and remittance services, issue debit cards and act as agents for commercial banks. They, however, will not be allowed to lend. According to Paytm’s Sinha, the company is currently in discussions to recruit the chief executive of the payment bank unit. The process is expected to take at least three months and it requires RBI’s approval.
In an earlier conversation with ET, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO of Paytm, said leadership level hiring for the payment bank will not be restricted to banking and financial services.