Flipkart in uncharted territory under Walmart
Binny Bansal’s abrupt resignation aside, Walmart is affecting several managerial changes at Flipkart and has even rolled Myntra and Jabong into the parent firm
New Delhi/Bengaluru: Walmart has already put its mark on Flipkart following former chief executive officer Binny Bansal’s abrupt exit and its tough actions are the clearest indicator of the systems and processes it will put in place at Flipkart, which will result in massive changes in the company’s operating style. Put simply, this is uncharted territory for Flipkart, which prior to the Walmart buyout, had largely operated without the bureaucratic, process-driven trappings of a typical, large listed company.
All that is now set to change, according to Flipkart executives and experts tracking Indian e-commerce.
Walmart has already effected some key changes and many more changes are expected soon.
Earlier this year, Walmart had four of its senior leaders join Flipkart at the group level. This month, Walmart elevated a key Walmart India executive, Rajneesh Kumar, as its chief corporate affairs officer. Walmart also crucially reversed an important group-level strategy to keep Myntra running as an independent platform. Myntra and Jabong have now been rolled into Flipkart.
Walmart had evaluated if there was sufficient differentiation between Flipkart and Myntra for the latter to continue as an independent company and ultimately decided to merge Myntra with Flipkart’s fashion business, according to people aware of the development.
Walmart wants to keep Myntra as a brand but it is still evaluating possibilities of integrating some roles between Myntra and Flipkart’s fashion business and running the two more closely. Most significantly, Walmart has sent out a crucial message with Bansal’s ignominious ouster from the company that lack of disclosures will not be tolerated.
This, according to experts tracking the corporate world, is a significant part of a broader global trend that has been witnessed at large listed companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Google (Alphabet Inc.), and also at unlisted startups such as Uber Technologies Inc., which recently embarked on a drive to clean up its hard-charging image and ousted founder Travis Kalanick.
“Western companies are hyper sensitive to these issues and their reputation globally and with Walmart’s history—they have had issues in different markets such as Mexico—the scrutiny on them is much higher because they are the world’s largest retailer,” said an analyst requesting anonymity. “Whatever transpired at Flipkart created a risk for Walmart. They need to protect any risk to their enterprise given the forces of the market.”
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