Flipkart Is in Turmoil, as the Company Tries to Grow Up


Mentioned briefly earlier, Kalyan Krishnamurthy is the new CEO of Flipkart, replacing co-founder Binny Bansal. It is not just the second CEO in as many years for Flipkart. This move is also seen by many as Flipkart investor Tiger Global (from which Krishnamurthy is coming) trying to get a tighter grip on Flipkart.

Flipkart itself is painting this move as necessary for growing up as a company.

Tech in Asia:

In the new world order, the group organization – the one Binny will head henceforth – will be to build a portfolio of new, high value-creating businesses “that are disruptive and will transform commerce in India,” the company said.

The Flipkart Group Org will look at strategies and mergers. Binny’s other responsibility as Group CEO will be to oversee capital allocation across all the group companies and CEO selection and compensation. He will also ensure that each business is led by a strong leader.

In an interview on Deal Street Asia, both the former and the new CEO elaborate on the change, with Binny Bansal taking over, basically, the M&A side of things:

Binny: If you look at the new organizational charter, it’s been specifically created to look at different areas in the commerce domain and see where we want to make big bets over the next 3-4 years. Basically I’ve been playing both the roles in the last 12 months: I was playing the Flipkart CEO role and the Group CEO role and the group agenda has just become a lot bigger with Jabong and PhonePe happening…it’s basically a progression of what we are becoming as a company. […]

Kalyan, what will be your immediate priority? How will your strategy differ from the one that was in place under Binny?

Krishnamurthy: We don’t work on a three-to-four month agenda anymore. We work on a longer-term strategy. As I was saying before, nothing will be very different from what we did over the last six months—growth will be the key focus and we will continue to build capabilities.

​The new CEO has led to some high profile departures at Flipkart.
Tech in Asia:

Saikiran Krishnamurthy, who was moved from his post as head of supply chain when Flipkart got its new CEO on Monday, is quitting the company along with two other senior executives.

And at the Economic Times: “Flipkart: 3 top flipkart execs quit a day after ceo change”:

E-tailer supply chain unit Ekart’s head Saikiran Krishnamurthy, senior vice-president (product) Surojit Chatterjee and chief marketing officer Samardeep Subandh are leaving the company, according to a company executive briefed on the matter.

All three had joined Flipkart in 2015, when it was aggressively hiring top talent from outside after raising over $2.6 billion in funding between 2014 and 2015.

That last paragraph may hint at another reason for this turmoil: Flipkart recently announced a cost cutting initiative.


Flipkart is offering employees who have failed to meet professional expectations the choice to either resign or be sent off with severance pay[…]

But we should not forget that Flipkart has been in some kind of eternal turnover for some time now:

Flipkart has been losing senior executives at an unprecedented rate, even for a fast growing company. In October, Sanjay Baweja, Flipkart’s chief financial officer, left. This was on top of an exodus that had continued all through last year, which counted the company’s vice-president and private label head Mausam Bhatt, senior vice-president of engineering Peeyush Ranjan, product head Punit Soni, chief business  officer Ankit Nagori, and legal head Rajinder Sharma as casualties.

..so maybe all this is just business as usual by now?

Meanwhile, what hasn’t slowed down is ad spending at Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal.

More on this topic:


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