Flipkart CEO Krishnamurthy to oversee personnel, search on for HR chief
Kalyan Krishnamurthy

Flipkart chief executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy will directly oversee the human resources function at the company, as the e-commerce firm inches closer to merging struggling rival Snapdeal with itself.

Former Tiger Global executive Krishnamurthy, who became Flipkart’s CEO in January, took over the HR function from chief operating officer Nitin Seth, who remains with the company.

“The people function will roll up to Kalyan. Meanwhile, we are looking to hire a head of HR, who will report to Kalyan and take full-time responsibility for the function,” a Flipkart spokesperson said.

Krishnamurthy is taking direct control of the HR department at a time when talent acquisition, retention and streamlining of various functions are critical for the e-commerce firm as it looks to integrate eBay India, which it acquired in April, and merge Snapdeal with itself after having signed a term sheet. Snapdeal, run by Jasper Infotech Pvt Ltd, has been valued around $1 billion, according to several media reports.

Krishnamurthy will also directly oversee the finance function and chief financial officer Sriram Venkataraman will report to him. The heads of category design management, which Krishnamurthy headed before he became CEO, along with private label, customer shopping, engineering and marketing continue to report to him directly.

The company had earlier said it would hire a group CFO and a general counsel, both of whom would report to co-founder and group CEO Binny Bansal.

Seth, a former Fidelity India head, joined Flipkart as chief people officer last year and rose to become the COO.

Flipkart, which had previously said it would not cut jobs, has about 8,000 employees.

Flipkart faced serious HR challenges throughout last year and early this year when a flurry of senior executives quit the firm. These people included Saikiran Krishnamurthy, head of Ekart, Flipkart’s supply chain arm; chief marketing officer Samardeep Subandh; and senior vice president of product management Surojit Chatterjee.

The top-level churn at Flipkart seems to have settled, with operations stabilising and investor sentiment improving under Krishnamurthy. The company is even rehiring some senior executives who had left the company.

Flipkart raised $1.4 billion from Tencent, eBay and Microsoft in April and is likely to raise $500 million to $1 billion from Japanese Internet conglomerate SoftBank after Snapdeal’s impending merger with the firm in a stock deal.

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