Former Flipkart COO Nitin Seth has reportedly served a legal notice to the ecommerce company. The notice was sent alleging the company of wrongful termination. He resigned from his position as the Chief Operations Officer in May 2017.
The IIM Lucknow graduate was allegedly let go just over a year after he joined the ecommerce company’s HR department in March 2016. Seth had risen to the rank of COO in less than 10 months.
Following Seth’s abrupt departure, CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy took over his responsibilities. According to sources, Seth believes that he was illegally fired and has, therefore, decided to take legal action against Flipkart.
Nitin Seth had previously served as the Chairperson of NASSCOM’s Regional Council in Haryana, and was also the MD and Country Head of investment firm Fidelity International. He was originally brought on board the Flipkart team in March 2016 by co-founder Binny Bansal. In less than six months, he was promoted to Chief Administrative Officer and, later, to Chief Operations Officer in January 2017.
During his tenure as the COO, Nitin Seth assumed control of the ecommerce giant’s in-house logistics arm Ekart. Furthermore, he was responsible for all people operations, strategy to execution capabilities and various corporate functions including HR, corporate strategy, strategy deployment, planning, analytics, corporate communications, government relations, risk management, facilities & infrastructure, and security.
Seth claims that he was abruptly asked to step down in May 2017. Since Seth’s exit, all the departments headed by him have come under the supervision of newly-appointed CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy. Commenting on Seth’s decision to take legal action against Flipkart, a source stated, “We have to see how strong the case is for him against Flipkart as it has to be judged from multiple legal perspectives.”
2016 was an especially controversial year for Flipkart. Apart from the Nitin Seth exit, the ecommerce giant witnessed multiple departures of top officials last year. Among them were Saikiran Krishnamurthy, Head of retailer supply chain unit Ekart; Samardeep Subandh, Chief Marketing Officer; and Senior Vice President Surojit Chatterjee.
Prior to that in January 2016, after Binny Bansal replaced Sachin Bansal as CEO, the company saw around seven resignations. This included Commerce Platform Head Mukesh Bansal, Chief Financial Officer Sanjay Baweja, Chief Business Officer Ankit Nagori, and Product Chief Punit Soni.
Despite raising $1.4 Bn funding from Tencent, eBay, and Microsoft in April 2017, things haven’t been very easy for the unicorn. In addition to increased competition from global giant Amazon, Flipkart is currently in the midst of the Snapdeal merger deal that seems to have reached a deadlock.
Recently, Flipkart ran into trouble with the All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA) over a technical malfunction that caused the ecommerce marketplace to record wrong weights for shipments. As per reports, the financial impact of the problem ranged between 20% and 30% of a vendor’s gross merchandise volume (GMV).
Legal tangles, such as the one with ex-COO Nitin Seth, could potentially take away Flipkart’s dream of becoming the country’s top ecommerce player.
(The development was reported by ET)