Walmart-owned Flipkart undertakes major management rejig

Walmart-owned Flipkart undertakes major management rejig
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: VCCircle
7 Dec, 2018

Walmart-owned e-commerce major Flipkart is undertaking a top-level rejig across its business verticals even as the company is looking to achieve greater synergies between its fashion businesses, a report said.

Flipkart chief executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy has initiated a management reshuffle at the firm to move the head of consumer shopping experience at Flipkart, Amar Nagaram, to the newly-created role of chief technology and product officer at Myntra. Krishnamurthy is also bringing Myntra’s chief technology officer Jeyandran Venugopal to Flipkart to head its engineering division, The Economic Times reported, citing undisclosed people in the know.

Ayyappan R, who was heading the mobile phone category at Flipkart, was earlier appointed to lead category management at Myntra. Nagaram and Ayyappan are said to be close aides of Krishnamurthy.

After Binny Bansal's exit, Krishnamurthy is heading Flipkart and its subsidiaries, including fashion portals Myntra and Jabong and payment wallet PhonePe. The move is expected to give Krishnamurthy a much stronger grip on Myntra’s operations.

A former executive of Walmart Labs, Nagaram has been with Flipkart since 2012 while Venugopal joined the company only last year after his stints at Snapdeal, Yahoo! and Amazon.

According to the report, Nagaram may eventually replace Myntra chief executive Ananth Narayanan, who was speculated to leave the fashion portal recently. Citing persons in the know, the publication said Narayanan is likely to resign from the company by January or February next year. It further said Narayanan is currently in negotiations with Walmart over the conditions of his resignation, especially the $20-25 million worth of stock options he is entitled to.

Multiple media publications had said that Narayanan was likely to step down after he was told to report to Krishnamurthy and that Myntra could be merged with Flipkart's fashion vertical. However, Walmart soon announced that Narayanan will continue to head the fashion e-tailer.

An e-mail query sent to Flipkart seeking more information on the reshuffle did not elicit a response till the time of publishing this report.

US parent Walmart Inc. was taking several measures to restructure Flipkart’s two fashion arms – Myntra and Jabong -- after Binny Bansal’s departure as Flipkart's group CEO.

Last month, Walmart announced that it will merge all functions of Myntra and Jabong and possibly lay off a large number of employees. "As the next step in this process, Myntra and Jabong will now fully integrate all the remaining functions including technology, marketing, category, revenue, finance and creative teams," the spokesperson had said.

Several people in the know told TechCircle that about 200 of Jabong’s 700 employees have been asked to leave the company. The most affected employees were from Jabong's Gurugram office and belong to the ‘category’ division at the fashion e-commerce firm.

Bansal had abruptly resigned as the group chief executive officer last month following an independent probe into allegations of “serious personal misconduct”. Bansal has denied the allegations.

Flipkart acquired Myntra in 2014. Myntra had acquired Jabong from Rocket Internet-backed Global Fashion Group for $70 million (Rs 470 crore then) in an all-cash deal in July 2016.

Jabong and Myntra have seen a flurry of top-level exits for some time now. Most recently in October, Myntra chief marketing officer and head of Jabong Gunjan Soni and Myntra strategy officer and head of categories Ananya Tripathi announced their decision to move on from the company by the end of this year. 

In June, Muralikrishnan B, a senior vice-president at Myntra, quit the fashion e-tailer.

The exit of Muralikrishnan, who was chief operating officer at Jabong, came almost four months after Myntra’s product and revenue heads resigned.