The year has rolled on from 2016 to 2017, but one thing hasn’t changed – rejigs in Flipkart’s top management.
And much like the early 2016 shocker, in which Sachin Bansal had stepped aside and coufounder Binny Bansal become CEO, 2017 has begun on a similar note. This time, Binny Bansal has stepped aside from the CEO post, and will take over the newly created role of group CEO. Kalyan Krishnamurthy will step in in his place. Sachin Bansal will continue in his role of Executive Chairman.
Kalyan Krishnamurthy had joined Flipkart less than a year ago. In June last year, Krishnamurthy had taken over as head of commerce unit after leaving Tiger Global, which is also the largest shareholder and investor in Flilpkart. He had recently courted controversy by claiming that Amazon was “copying everything” from Flipkart.
Krishnamurthy, fashion unit Myntra-Jabong CEO Ananth Narayanan, and payments unit PhonePe CEO Sameer Nigam will report to Binny Bansal. In his new role, Krishnamurthy will be responsible for Flipkart P&L.
Nitin Seth, the current chief administrative officer at Flipkart, will become the COO, where he will be responsible for Ekart and customer experience. Seth will continue to be responsible for HR, strategy and corporate functions for Flipkart. Current Ekart CEO Saikiran Krishnamurthy will move to a new role, where he will work with Binny.
With this, both of Flipkart’s original founders – Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal – have stepped away from the CEO position at the company. This is not an uncommon practice at startups – several companies including Microsoft, Google and Apple have had non founder CEOs with varying levels of success. Other companies, such as Facebook, still continue to have their founder in CEO roles, even after taking their company through an IPO. Flipkart, though, becomes the first Indian unicorn to have a non-founder in the CEO position.
But this management change can possibly be seen as an extension of the continuous volatility Flipkart has seen in its top management year – in 2016 alone, its Chief Product Officer Punit Soni, Chief Business Officer Ankit Nagori, Myntra founder Mukesh Bansal, and several other high profile employees quit the firm.