Flutterwave CEO leaves at critical time

Flutterwave, the prominent fintech startup, is facing uncertainty regarding its plans to go public on the stock market as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Oneal Bhambani, has resigned just 18 months after joining the company. This development has raised questions about the company’s strategic direction.

In a LinkedIn post, Bhambani shared his decision to leave the company, stating, “Last week, I made the difficult decision to end my tenure at the company. Thank you to Flutterwave for a seat on its journey to scale payments across Africa… I wish everyone at Flutterwave the best, and I will be rooting for you.”

Flutterwave responded to the resignation, explaining that Bhambani had chosen to pursue new opportunities. Israel Koledowo, Head of Finance for Africa, will take on the role of leading the finance department on an interim basis while the company embarks on a global search for a new CFO.

Oneal Bhambani joined Flutterwave in May 2022 at a crucial time for the company, which was Africa’s most valuable startup. The company was dealing with allegations of financial improprieties and employee bullying. Bhambani brought with him two decades of experience in finance, having previously served as the CFO of American Express’s small business lending arm, formerly known as Kabbage, now American Express Business Blueprint. His appointment was expected to provide stability and help Flutterwave navigate various challenges, including fraud allegations in Kenya, East Africa’s largest economy, where Flutterwave was operating without a license.

Bhambani was not the only executive to join Flutterwave from Kabbage; two others, Rebecca Mendel and Oscar Lan, also joined the company. However, both of them have left the company, according to their LinkedIn profiles, with their departures occurring in October.

Despite facing legal challenges, Flutterwave has managed to return to a high growth trajectory. The company has expressed its intentions to list on the stock market, although it has not provided a specific timeline for an IPO. Flutterwave has been actively expanding its services, launching a new currency swap product for the Nigerian market and introducing its redesigned international payments app called Send App. The company is also expanding its focus on consumer payments, in addition to its core business segment, which has been a major driver of its growth over the years.

Oneal Bhambani’s departure marks the most high-profile exit from Flutterwave since 2018 when the co-founder and then-CEO, Iyin Aboyeji, left the company. The CFO’s resignation has now raised significant concerns about Flutterwave’s IPO plans, particularly given the company’s substantial backing from investors like Tiger Global and its impressive valuation of $3 billion.

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