High-profile exits continue at Flipkart

Private label head Mausam Bhatt and senior VP of engineering Peeyush Ranjan latest to join a wave of top-level exits at the firm


Seven executives at the vice-president level have left Flipkart so far this year. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
Seven executives at the vice-president level have left Flipkart so far this year. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Bengaluru: Flipkart Internet Pvt. Ltd’s vice-president and private label head Mausam Bhatt and senior vice-president of engineering Peeyush Ranjan are the latest to join a wave of high-profile executives who have quit the company. While Bhatt’s next move is unclear, Ranjan is moving to join online rental platform Airbnb Inc. in the US.

Adarsh Menon, who headed Flipkart’s electronics business, will replace Bhatt as the head of Flipkart’s yet-to-be-launched private-label business. Flipkart’s current engineering chief Ravi Garikipati will take over the responsibilities of Ranjan, who was one of the company’s high-profile hires from the Silicon Valley.

Flipkart confirmed the changes.

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Ranjan, who joined Flipkart in May 2015 from Google (Alphabet Inc.), had moved back to the US in June and given up his day-to-day responsibilities of overseeing Flipkart’s engineering function. He helped launch the company’s San Francisco office where engineers and computer scientists are working on mobile technology, machine learning and other newer technology areas.

“A few months ago, I had to move to the US due to personal reasons. Around that time, we had set up a research lab in Palo Alto that I was overseeing—we’re doing some very cool things in the lab there. However, due to the personal reasons I spoke about, around that time it became clearer that I would have to spend a considerable time in the US, which is why I have decided to move on,” Ranjan said in an interview.

This year, as many as seven Flipkart executives at the level of senior vice-president, the second highest rank at the company, have left—including commerce platform head Mukesh Bansal, chief financial officer Sanjay Baweja, chief business officer Ankit Nagori, product chief Punit Soni, legal head Rajinder Sharma, and Anand K.V., who headed customer experience. Even Sachin Bansal, the company’s co-founder, moved aside as chief executive in January and was replaced by Flipkart’s other founder, Binny Bansal.

ALSO READ | Flipkart may seek help of investment banks to raise funds

Most of these exits or changes are linked to Flipkart’s disastrous performance in 2015 when the company lost significant ground to Amazon India. The departures are also an indication that Flipkart’s decision in late 2014 to replace its old management team in one sweep with high-profile recruits from more established companies may have backfired.

Flipkart has spent much of this year undoing its missteps of 2015, by getting back some of its old hands and returning its focus on pleasing customers with exclusive product offerings, low prices and faster delivery. In June, the company brought back Kalyan Krishnamurthy as business head in an attempt to revive sales growth.

Krishnamurthy, an executive at Flipkart’s largest investor Tiger Global Management, had earlier worked at Flipkart as interim chief financial officer and then as head of categories before leaving abruptly in November 2014.

Flipkart also moved back to a retail-heavy model in bid to improve service levels which had suffered badly in its attempt to move to the marketplace model last year.

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