Last year when US-based retail giant Walmart acquired the majority stake in Flipkart, cofounder Sachin Bansal had to vacate his position in the company. Soon after, cofounder and Group CEO Binny Bansal also left due to personal misconduct allegations. With the founders out, Kalyan Krishnamurthy stepped in to lead Flipkart into the new era and has the India charge for the new Walmart-Flipkart future.
However, a Moneycontrol report today cited sources to say that a new CEO is likely to replace Krishnamurthy soon and a formal announcement is expected around Walmart’s shareholders’ meeting in the first week of June. In response, Krishnamurthy called the story baseless and false.
“This is just not true. I am at Flipkart for the long term and fully committed to the company and Walmart -Flipkart partnership. As we called out it’s a baseless story,” Krishnamurthy told Inc42 in a statement.
According to the original report, Walmart is working on a new strategy for Flipkart with plans to shift the focus towards core business metrics, improved profitability and greater sales volume.
Rajneesh Kumar, senior vice president and chief corporate affairs officer of Flipkart Group also denied that there were any plans to replace Kalyan Krishnamurthy with a new CEO. He also stated that during his visit, McMillon commended Krishnamurthy and the entire Flipkart Group leadership for their commitment to India by finding solutions through technology and innovation.
Besides a change in leadership, Flipkart is expected to be listed on stock exchanges in the US in the subsequent years, most likely in 2019-20 as a fully-owned Walmart subsidiary. With this Walmart intends to scale up with plans to create “millions of jobs through supply chains, commercial opportunity and direct employment.”
The development comes days after Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart was in India and interacted with Flipkart’s leadership team and the employees. McMillon is said to have lauded the efforts of Flipkart in creating a brand that has brought online shopping to millions of new customers in India.
Krishnamurthy’s association with Flipkart has been a rough sail. He first worked with Flipkart in 2013-14 as its first interim chief financial officer and the categories’ head before leaving the organisation in November 2014. Later, Binny Bansal brought him back to the company in June 2016. Within six months, he took over as CEO replacing Binny, who was promoted to Group CEO. However, the company’s Group CEO position came to Krishnamurthy after Bansal left in November 2018.
Update 1 | 20:30 PM; April 18, 2019
Added Kalyan Krishnamurthy’s statement and updated headline