Singapore startup fires CEO after Jillingo suspension

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SINGAPORE – Singapore-based Jillingo said on Friday it had fired chief executive Ankiti Bose following an independent investigation into allegations that fashion technology startups were being described as “serious financial irregularities”.

Bose, 30, the face of Jillingo at a meeting of industry forums and investors, told Reuters he had been wrongly fired.

He said in an emailed statement, “The board unfairly fired me today for ‘privilege’ without giving me a chance to fully address the concerns that have been raised.”

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Seven-year-old Gilingo was plunged into crisis when its board fired Bose, the company’s co-founder, in March in support of large investors pending an investigation.

In its final funding round in 2019, valued at about $ 1 billion, it was backed by investors, including Geelingo Sequoia Capital India and Singapore-based investor Temasek.

The company said in an emailed statement that it had “decided to terminate Bose’s employment with good reason and reserves the right to take appropriate legal action.”

Gilingo did not elaborate on the investigation but said an independent forensic agency had led the investigation.

It said a top consulting firm was also hired to look into the harassment allegations, which Bose brought to the board’s attention after his suspension.

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Jilingo said the investigation concluded that the company had taken appropriate action and followed due process to resolve the allegations. It says recent online reports have caused “irreparable damage” to companies, boards, employees and investors.

Sequoia and Temasek did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comments sent outside the general office hours. They have not previously commented on the case. Jillingo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Zilingo said last week that its borrowers had decided to repay their entire loan, leading the company to hire a financial advisor to evaluate the options.

Founded in 2015 by Bose and Chief Technology Officer Dhruv Kapoor, Jillingo has become a global supply chain enabler for the garment industry. It works with thousands of garment factories and traders in South Asia and Southeast Asia, connecting them to retailers worldwide.

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Bose told Reuters in a statement that he had detailed to the board this week “the amount of harassment and pressure he has faced in the last few years.”

“At my alleged completion stage, I am still presented with the results of both Kroll and Deloitte and my reports as incomplete,” he wrote.

Sources familiar with the situation said Kroll conducted an investigation into the “financial irregularities” claim and was tapped to investigate Deloitte Bose’s “harassment” claims.

Kroll declined to comment. Deloitte did not immediately respond to emails and phone requests for comment. (Reporting by Anshuman Daga and Joybir Singh Shekhawat in Singapore, Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bangalore; Editing by Edmund Blair)



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