Zoho Corp’s founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Sridhar Vembu recently relocated to Mathalamparai village in Tamil Nadu after living in San Francisco Bay area for nearly a quarter century. The business tycoon who is valued at nearly $5 billion by Forbes is going through a divorce with his wife Pramila Srinivasan. Forbes published a piece on how Mr Vembu abandoned his wife and his special need son and is keeping them from receiving their fair share. However, Mr Vembu took to Twitter to deny these allegations.
In his tweet, he wrote, “I never ever transferred my shares in the company to anyone else. I lived in the US for the first 24 years of our 27-year history and much of what constitutes the company was built in India. That is reflected in the ownership. It is complete fiction to say I financially abandoned Pramila and my son. They enjoy a far richer life than I do and I have supported them fully. My US salary for the last 3 years has been with her, and I gave our house to her. Her foundation also is supported by Zoho.”
In a follow-up tweet, Mr Vembu wrote, “Unfortunately the end of our marriage brought a new conflict. She is making unfounded allegations in court about my ownership interest in Zoho Corp and she has chosen to go to the press too. The matter is in court in the US, my filings are public.”
1/ With vicious personal attacks and slander on my character, it is time for me to respond.
This is a deeply painful personal thread. My personal life, in contrast to my business life, has been a long tragedy. Autism destroyed our lives and left me suicidally depressed.
— Sridhar Vembu (@svembu) March 14, 2023
The Forbes report said that Ms Srinivasan has accused Mr Vembu of deliberately getting rid of a big chunk of his Zoho stake in a complex transaction that moved firms’ intellectual property to India and eventually placed the majority of the shares with his sister and her husband, without Ms Srinivasan’s knowledge.
In the divorce case filed in California, Ms Srinivasan stated in a court filing, “My husband of 29 years not only abandoned me and his son with special needs in 2020.” The statement further read, “He decided to make fictitious transfers or ‘sales’ of our most valuable community asset to his family members without their paying any cash or other consideration, and without ever telling me or asking my permission.”
Pramila Srinivasan’s lawyer, John Farley, told Forbes that “the community property law in California does not allow a spouse during marriage to secretly dispose of assets without obtaining the other spouse’s consent. After all, ‘community’ property in effect means jointly owned-a duty to be transparent with your spouse and not to engage in secret transactions to try to evade the 50-50 legal requirement.”
Sridhar Vembu filed for divorce from his wife in August 2021 after living with her for 29 years. The news report by Forbes says that Vembu’s decision was motivated by his goal to create employment opportunities in rural areas and promote knowledge sharing among his employees. His contribution to the community has earned him praise and accolades. He was also honoured with the Padma Shri award. The report suggests that his decision to relocate to India was not solely due to his vision for rural areas.