The head of Marketing of Aakash Educational Services Ltd (AESL), Sushant Kumar, has exited the firm, according to sources.

Kumar served as the lead for marketing for nearly four years. He served as the head of marketing for driving business growth for online and hybrid courses in test preparation and K12 segment, user experience.

This comes at a time when Think and Learn, the parent company of Byju’s, and AESL have withdrawn the merger petition.

The merger was planned as a part of the cash-and-stock deal, when the embattled edtech Byju’s had acquired the brick-and-mortar test prep company for $940 million. Byju’s had acquired AESL in April 2021 in a deal that had a 70 per cent cash component and 30 per cent equity component — AESL promoters - the Chaudhry family, and private equity firm Blackstone would have got shares of Think & Learn. The share-swap is meant to complete this deal.

Aakash saga

Ranjan Pai, chairman of Manipal Education and Medical Group, has emerged as the single largest shareholder in Byju’s-owned Aakash Institute, with a 39 per cent stake. This happened after the Aakash board approved the conversion of the $300 million invested by Pai in 2023 into equity.

In November 2022, he had invested close to $200 million in Aakash Institute to help Byju’s clear its debt and interest to Davidson Kempner. Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO, Byju’s, had also borrowed capital from the investor to run daily operations at Think & Learn by pledging his personal stake in AESL.

Currently, Pai holds 39 per cent stake, while Think and Learn holds 26 per cent, Raveendran has 17 per cent stake and the Chaudhry family and Blackstone hold 10 and 8 per cent respectively.