Home >companies >people >Myntra names Ananth Narayanan as new CEO, replacing Mukesh Bansal

Bengaluru: Myntra named McKinsey India director Ananth Narayanan as its new chief executive officer (CEO), replacing Mukesh Bansal, who will now become chairman of the mobile app-based clothes retailer.

After Flipkart bought Myntra last year, Bansal has been increasingly spending more time at Flipkart. He was named head of Flipkart’s commerce platform earlier this year, a role that gives him day-to-day responsibility for running the company.

Bansal will continue to be “actively involved in contributing to Myntra’s vision, strategy and overall direction in his role as chairman", Myntra said.

Narayanan, who will join Myntra in October, is a 15-year McKinsey veteran who heads product development in Asia and the consulting firm’s automotive practice in India. He has worked with companies in the auto, component and construction equipment sectors in India and across Asia, and helped establish McKinsey’s China sourcing centre.

“Ananth will be a great leader to drive Myntra’s aspiration to transform how people shop for fashion and to build category-leading fashion brands. Ananth joins at a time when Myntra has established a strong leadership in the fashion space and is leading the space in mobile revolution. I am looking forward to working with Ananth to shape the next phase in Myntra’s evolution," Bansal said in a statement.

Narayanan is the latest senior hire by Flipkart-Myntra from a consulting firm. Flipkart hired Saikiran Krishnamurthy as chief operating officer of its commerce platform, while Myntra has recruited Abhishek Verma as head of its private brands. Both Krishnamurthy and Verma worked at McKinsey.

Narayanan’s appointment comes after Myntra shifted to become an app-only platform on 15 May and shut its desktop and mobile websites. Its parent Flipkart, too, may shut its website and become an app-only retailer starting August, The Times of India reported on 7 July.

Myntra and Flipkart are betting that they will persuade a sufficient number of existing Internet users to shop exclusively on the mobile. New users over the next five years won’t need so much convincing as a majority of them are expected to access the Internet first through the mobile phone rather than the desktop, according to various studies. When Myntra made its shift, it got more than 90% of its traffic from the mobile, while that number is roughly 75% for Flipkart currently.

The number of mobile Internet users in December 2014 stood at 173 million, according to a report by lobby group Internet and Mobile Association of India and market researcher IMRB International. Another report, a joint effort by Google and AT Kearney, predicts that by 2017, India will have 480 million mobile Internet users.

Analysts and investors said Myntra and Flipkart are taking a risk by shutting non-mobile platforms.

The two retailers are involved in an intense battle with Snapdeal and Amazon India for dominance of India’s e-commerce market and may not be in a position to lose out on any sales to these rivals, analysts said. And even though Amazon and Snapdeal get a large part of their traffic from the mobile, they aren’t shutting any platforms.

According to a report by Accel Partners, one of the investors in Flipkart, the online fashion, footwear and accessories market in India was valued at $559 million in 2013 and is projected to reach $2.8 billion by 2016, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 71%.

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