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Flipkart appoints former Tiger Global exec Kalyan Krishnamurthy as CEO

09 January, 2017

E-commerce major Flipkart on Monday named Kalyan Krishnamurthy its new chief executive officer and made co-founder and current CEO Binny Bansal group CEO in a major organisational restructuring.

Krishnamurthy, a former Tiger Global executive, currently heads the design organisation category. 

Co-founder Sachin Bansal will continue to be executive chairman, “providing strategic direction for existing businesses, mentoring senior leadership, and will work closely with Binny on the new business portfolio”, the company said in a statement.

Flipkart also named chief administrative officer Nitin Seth as COO. Seth will be responsible for logistics arm Ekart and customer experience in addition to his existing role leading human resources. He will report to Krishnamurthy. 

In addition, the company named Sameer Nigam as CEO of PhonePe. Ananth Narayanan will continue as CEO of Myntra-Jabong, it said.  

Krishnamurthy, Narayanan and Nigam will report to Binny Bansal.

The heads of categories, marketplace, customer shopping experience, private label and marketing will continue to report to Krishnamurthy. In addition, the engineering wing led by Ravi Garikipati will now report to Krishnamurthy.

The company also said that Flipkart will hire a Group CFO and a general counsel and that both of them will report to Binny Bansal.

Flipkart’s CFO Sanjay Baweja had quit in October last year.

Krishnamurthy has been involved with Flipkart’s affairs both as a representative of the key investor and as an important functionary within the company. He held the position of chief finance officer at Flipkart for a short period till he returned to Tiger Global as a managing director in December 2014.

Krishnamurthy was back at Flipkart in mid-2016 when a series of markdowns, top level exits and Amazon’s steady march put the company under pressure.

The top level shuffle, exactly a year after co-founder Binny Bansal was made CEO, signals that the company is still striving to set the house in order even as it fights a tough battle against Amazon in online retailing.

Under Binny’s tenure, Flipkart had a tumultuous period. Eroding investor confidence became evident as Flipkart’s shareholders sharply marked down the valuation of the company to $5.57 billion last year, almost a third of its peak valuation at $15.2 billion in the previous year.

The company was seen struggling while dealing with successive exits of top-level executives and a funding drought besides slow volume growth.  The company that saw a strong churn among senior leadership ended 2016 with a few more exits.

Now the spotlight has turned on Krishnamurthy as to whether he would be able to turn around the fortunes of Flipkart. The ecommerce veteran, who had previously worked with eBay at senior roles in the finance function, keeps a low profile and has rarely interacted with the media. An MBA from Asian Institute of Management, Krishnamurthy held the position of finance director at some of Tiger Global’s portfolio companies.

As Tiger Global’s representative, Krishnamurthy was seen commanding significant influence over the affairs at Flipkart in his second stint which began in June 2016 when he joined the firm as head of category design organisation.

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Flipkart appoints former Tiger Global exec Kalyan Krishnamurthy as CEO

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