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Flipkart conducts first major management reshuffle since Walmart buyout

Livemint logoLivemint 07-12-2018 Anirban Sen
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In the first significant management reshuffle since Walmart Inc. bought a majority stake in Flipkart, several top and mid-level executives have been moved to a number of new roles, while other leaders have been moved from Flipkart to Myntra and vice versa, as Flipkart chief executive officer (CEO) Kalyan Krishnamurthy looks to place key lieutenants across critical business units.

Flipkart conducts first major management reshuffle since Walmart buyout: Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy is looking to place key lieutenants across critical business units. Photo: Bloomberg © LiveMint Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy is looking to place key lieutenants across critical business units. Photo: Bloomberg

Since the end of the key Diwali season sale, Flipkart has moved a number of senior managers to new roles, as Krishnamurthy looks to tighten the e-commerce firm’s performance across all units and reduce Flipkart’s reliance on smartphones, which still generates well over 50% of Flipkart’s overall sales.

Flipkart has moved large appliances head Sandeep Karwa to work on the company’s new hyperlocal offering, which rolls into the overall grocery business.

Hari Kumar, a senior director who has held a number of different roles within Flipkart over the past few years, has been tasked to head the large appliances business.

More significantly, Flipkart has appointed Aditya Soni as the new head of its flagship smartphones business, after former smartphones head Ayyappan R. was moved to Myntra.

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Smrithi Ravichandran, a senior director who used to head key events like Big Billion Days, merchandise and business developments, has been moved to a new role in Flipkart’s fintech unit. Ravichandran’s position has been taken over by Nandita Sinha, who used to head Flipkart’s home and furniture business, the people mentioned above said. Flipkart is expected to appoint a new head for the furniture business over the coming weeks.

Flipkart has also moved key executives like Ayyappan to Myntra, while some top leaders from Myntra are expected to be moved to Flipkart. For instance, according to the first two people mentioned above, Myntra’s current chief technology officer Jeyandran Venugopal is expected to be moved to Flipkart in a new role after Myntra’s flagship End of Reason Sale, which is usually held in December-January.

A Flipkart spokesperson declined to comment on these changes.

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The past few weeks and months have witnessed massive changes at Flipkart. Most significantly, Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal was forced to resign, after an internal investigation carried out by Walmart and Flipkart into an allegation of “personal misconduct” on the part of Binny Bansal. The investigation did not find any evidence of wrongdoing to support the allegation, but revealed a “lapse in judgement” from Binny Bansal, according to Walmart.

Following Bansal’s departure, Flipkart also elevated Krishnamurthy to a broader group-level role and made Myntra report into him, after keeping the online fashion retailer independent since acquiring it in 2014. Krishnamurthy later clarified that Myntra will continue to remain an independent business.

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Mint reported on 16 November that Flipkart may abolish the position of group CEO and retain the new structure it put in place after Binny Bansal’s exit. Following that, a large round of layoffs was also carried out at Jabong, as part of a broader integration between Myntra and Jabong, as Mint reported on 16 November. About 150-200 employees have been laid off, as part of the restructuring, although Myntra CEO Ananth Narayanan later told Mint that about 10% of the combined workforce of Myntra and Jabong would be cut.

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