Bengaluru: A day after online marketplace Flipkart changed its chief executive as part of a radical overhaul of India’s largest Internet start-up, Saikiran Krishnamurthy, the former head of Flipkart’s logistics business, has resigned, two people familiar with the matter said.
More senior executives will likely resign in the next month, the people cited above said on condition of anonymity.
On Monday, Flipkart elevated Kalyan Krishnamurthy, a former Tiger Global Management executive, as its new chief executive officer (CEO), replacing co-founder Binny Bansal, who was named as the group CEO at Flipkart. The announcement came exactly one year after Binny had replaced his co-founder Sachin Bansal, who was moved to the position of executive chairman. The Bansals are now out of the day-to-day running of Flipkart, as Krishnamurthy has full control of the company.
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As part of the reorganisation, Flipkart promoted chief administrative officer Nitin Seth to the position of chief operating officer. Seth replaced Saikiran Krishnamurthy as head of Ekart, Flipkart’s massive logistics arm.
Saikiran Krishnamurthy’s resignation was expected given that he was shunted to an undefined role within Binny Bansal’s team, the two people cited above said.
Saikiran Krishnamurthy, a former partner at McKinsey & Co., was the last remaining senior executive at Flipkart from the company’s hiring spree of early 2015, when it replaced its old management team with high-profile recruits.
The latest changes at Flipkart were driven by Kalyan Krishnamurthy, who is consolidating his control over Flipkart, the people cited above said.
Kalyan Krishnamurthy is being backed by Flipkart’s board, primarily Lee Fixel, global head of private investments at Flipkart’s largest investor Tiger Global Management, the people said.
Fixel, whose firm owns 30-33% of Flipkart, is seen as the single most influential person in the online marketplace. The New York-based fund manager has staked his reputation on the Flipkart bet, his biggest ever. Tiger has pumped roughly $1 billion into the company since it first picked up a minority stake in late 2009.
Flipkart didn’t respond to emails and calls for comment. Mint couldn’t reach Saikiran Krishnamurthy immediately.
Flipkart has implemented three large organizational restructuring moves since the start of 2015, two of which failed. The third, which is the latest, is notable because it is the first instance of a large Indian start-up appointing a professional, non-founder CEO.
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All of Flipkart’s past restructuring efforts have been followed by an exodus of senior leaders.
For instance, last year, as many as seven Flipkart executives at the level of senior vice-president, the second highest rank, left the company after Binny replaced his co-founder as CEO in January 2016. These included commerce platform head Mukesh Bansal, chief financial officer Sanjay Baweja, chief business officer Ankit Nagori and product chief Punit Soni