In a major structural change at Indian e-commerce behemoth Flipkart, cofounder Binny Bansal has become the new CEO of the company. The company’s previous CEO and other cofounder, Sachin Bansal, stepped down to assume the position of executive chairman in a strategic and mentorship role.
The change comes at a crucial point for Flipkart, which is reportedly under pressure from investors to become profitable as soon as possible.
Although the company has started talking about profitability in the next couple of years and has even made strategic investments and introduced new categories on its platform, investors seem to be focusing on the profit numbers.
Just a few days ago, there were reports that the second-largest investor in Flipkart after Tiger Global, Accel partners had sold off its $100 million stake in the company to Qatar Investment Authority. Prior to that, other investors, namely Helion Ventures and IDG Ventures, had also made full and partial exits respectively from Flipkart.
A major change in the leadership may mark the beginning of that path to profitability, which involves forming a strategy for strengthening its operations as well as winning investor sentiment amidst competition from other big players like Amazon, PayTm, and Snapdeal.
Binny Bansal was formerly COO of Flipkart. As CEO, he will be responsible for operationally driving the company and for the company’s overall performance. The various business units of the company — commerce, ekart, and Myntra, as well as the corporate functions like HR, Legal, Communications, etc will report to Bansal.
Speaking on his new role, Bansal said the company has come a long way in eight years and is in a strong leadership position, with over 60% market share of the m-commerce market, 50 million customers, and clear leadership in smartphones and fashion. “We will continue to build world-class customer experience, expand our supply chain infrastructure to reach all parts of India, drive innovations in mobile commerce, and bring in disruptive technologies,” he said.
His predecessor will now be involved in providing a strategic direction to the company; mentoring the senior leadership; looking for investment opportunities; and representing the company in external forums.The objective is to dramatically step up Flipkart’s leadership role among key external stakeholders. “In this next phase of the journey, it will be our endeavour to fulfil this responsibility and prove that India can produce a world-class Internet company that can outshine any global behemoth,” he said.
[This story was adapted with permission from The Tech Portal, VentureBeat’s India-based syndication partner.]