sports icon Lionel Messi
sports icon Lionel Messi

Byju’s sacks thousands, but hires Lionel Messi

The long-term engagement, which begins as Messi embarks on his final campaign to win the World Cup as captain of Argentina, will see him feature in campaigns promoting Byju’s ‘Education For All’.

NEW DELHI: Edtech major Byju’s, in the process of laying off thousands of employees as part of restructuring its business, on Friday hired football star and sports icon Lionel Messi as the global brand ambassador for its social impact arm, and the move has not gone well with the industry as well as people.

The long-term engagement, which begins as Messi embarks on his final campaign to win the World Cup as captain of Argentina, will see him feature in campaigns promoting Byju’s ‘Education For All’.

Abhishek Desai, Founder, CricHeroes said it does sound like an irony that where you are laying off people on one side and hiring Messi as your global brand ambassador.

“But I think that’s the cost everyone pays for growing too fast. It’s not that the company does not have money but in growing too fast it creates a lot of redundancy in the organisation. Sooner or later you have to fix that and I think these layoffs are a result of that,” said Desai.

“Not only Byju’s but we are seeing something similar in Twitter also right now which is a public company. Until and unless we come out of this mindset, such incidents are bound to happen,” he added.

Byju’s founder and CEO Byju Raveendran has told employees that there is a huge price to pay for walking on the path to profitability and the company will part ways with 5 per cent or 2,500 employees to “avoid role duplication across our businesses”.

Earlier this year, Byju’s made history by becoming the official sponsors of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. Football has roughly 3.5 billion fans worldwide, and Messi has a social media following of nearly 450 million.

According to Syed Nadeem Jafri, founder and chief mentor, Hearty Mart, laying off employees is part of any organisational journey.

“However, hiring Messi is to counter the dent in the image, which might have happened due to the laying-off move, which seems more like a PR image building ploy rather than any strategic plan behind it,” said Jafri.

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