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McClatchy-Tribune  01/12/2017 12:01 AM ET
Flipkart's management reshuffle continues as three top executives resign [Mint, New Delhi]

Jan. 12--BENGALURU -- A day after online marketplace Flipkart appointed a new chief executive officer as part of a major management reshuffle, three top executives have resigned from the e-commerce firm, two people familiar with the matter said.

Saikiran Krishnamurthy, the former head of Flipkart's logistics business, marketing chief Samardeep Subandh and products chief Surojit Chatterjee have stepped down, the people cited above said on condition of anonymity.

On Monday, Flipkart elevated Kalyan Krishnamurthy, a former Tiger Global Management executive, as its new CEO, replacing co-founder Binny Bansal, who was named as the group CEO at Flipkart. The announcement came exactly one year after Binny Bansal replaced his co-founder Sachin Bansal, who was moved to the position of executive chairman.

ALSO READ -- Why Flipkart has turned to Kalyan Krishnamurthy

The Bansals are now out of the day-to-day running of Flipkart, as Krishnamurthy has full control of the company.

As part of the reorganization, Flipkart promoted chief administrative officer Nitin Seth to the position of chief operating officer. Seth replaced Saikiran Krishnamurthy as head of Ekart, Flipkart's 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. Chatterjee had joined Flipkart in late 2015 from Google (Alphabet Inc.) to replace Punit Soni, another Google executive who was Flipkart's first high-profile hire. Subandh had joined Flipkart from Marico Ltd.

ALSO READ -- Q&A -- Flipkart's Bansal and Krishnamurthy on what the reshuffle means

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 Global has pumped roughly $1 billion into the company since it first picked up a minority stake in late 2009.

ALSO READ -- Flipkart's godfather in New York

Flipkart didn't respond to emails and calls for comment. Subandh and Chatterjee declined to comment on Monday night. Mint couldn't reach Saikiran Krishnamurthy immediately. The Economic Times newspaper reported the departures of Subandh and Chatterjee on Tuesday morning.

Flipkart has implemented three large organizational restructuring moves since the start of 2015, two of which have 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.

All of Flipkart's past restructuring efforts have been followed by an exodus of senior leaders.

For instance, last year, seven Flipkart executives at the level of senior vice-president, the second highest rank, left the company after Binny Bansal 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.


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