Flipkart has named its first non-founder CEO: former Tiger Global executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy

A new leader.
A new leader.
Image: EPA/Jagadeesh NV
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For the first time since its inception in 2007, India’s largest homegrown e-commerce company has gone outside its founding team for a CEO.

Bengaluru-based Flipkart on Jan. 9 named Kalyan Krishnamurthy, the company’s category design organization chief and a former executive with investor Tiger Global, as its CEO. ”Kalyan will be responsible for operationally driving Flipkart and will be responsible for Flipkart P&L,” the company said in a press release.

Krishnamurthy joined the company in June 2016 from Tiger Global, which is the largest shareholder in Flipkart. He earlier worked with eBay and Procter & Gamble, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Krishnamurthy will report to outgoing CEO Binny Bansal, a Flipkart co-founder who will now head a newly formed entity called Flipkart Group Organisation, which the company says will focus on new and high-growth businesses, manage capital allocation across group companies, and ensure each business has a strong CEO in place.

Flipkart also appointed Nitin Seth, currently the chief administrative officer, as its new chief operating officer. Seth will report to the new CEO and be responsible for customer experience and human resources, along with Flipkart’s logistics business, Ekart.

The new structure comes just one year after Bansal replaced his partner Sachin Bansal (no relation) as the CEO of Flipkart, and at a time when Flipkart is struggling with devaluation by several of its investors.

Flipkart is struggling to retain its position as a market leader in India, with US-online retail major Amazon nipping at its heels. In November, a fund managed by Morgan Stanley slashed the e-commerce major’s value to $5.54 billion (Rs38,030 crore), down from a peak of $15.5 billion in May 2015.

Besides Krishnamurthy, the CEOs of the other companies in the group, Myntra and PhonePe, will report to Binny Bansal.

“Flipkart Group is in the process of hiring a Group CFO and General Counsel and both of them will also report to Binny,” the company said.

Sachin Bansal will continue to be executive chairman, focusing on broader strategy and mentoring top leadership.