New Delhi: India’s largest online retailer Flipkart Ltd has replaced the senior leadership team in its key technology function by hiring two senior executives from Google Inc. to add mobile technology expertise.

In a surprise move, Flipkart has recruited Peeyush Ranjan, senior director of engineering at Google, as senior vice-president and head of engineering.

His appointment follows that of Punit Soni, who was named as the head of products last month.

The new appointments come just two months after Flipkart reorganized the company into three units and split its technology function into engineering and research and development.

Senior vice-president Sameer Nigam was named head of engineering while Amod Malviya, chief technology officer, was shifted to the new technology projects.

Now, following the hires of Soni and Ranjan, the company may again restructure its technology function to sharpen focus on mobile technology, said two people familiar with the matter.

Nigam will move to a new role within Flipkart, said the two people cited above, adding that role hasn’t been decided yet.

Regarding Nigam’s role, a Flipkart spokesperson said, “It’s an internal matter and we will not comment on it."

“There is no restructuring planned in the tech team," the spokesperson added.

“This shows just how competitive and unpredictable Flipkart is internally," said an executive at a headhunting firm in India.

“Over there, for senior leadership, there’s barely such a thing as job security. It’s hyper competitive and particularly at this stage when they’re trying to do a lot of high-profile hiring, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more changes in the next six months," said the executive, on condition of anonymity, as he works with e-commerce firms.

Soni and Ranjan worked together for Google as part of the team that launched Motorola Mobility Holdings Llc’s MotoG and MotoE smartphones in India through Flipkart.

Ranjan’s most recent role at Google, which owned Motorola for nearly two years until last year, was engineering head for Google’s Android One initiative, which aims to make cheap smartphones for poorer countries. The hires of Ranjan and Soni are intended to accelerate Flipkart’s mobile-commerce push and improve its offering to customers on the mobile.

Mobile commerce is booming in India and the country is expected to have 480 million mobile Internet users by 2017, according to a joint effort by Google and A.T. Kearney Inc.

The country currently has roughly 200 million mobile Internet users.

Flipkart generates about 75% of its traffic from its mobile app and the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Sachin Bansal has held discussions with employees about moving sales entirely toward the app, Mint reported on 4 March.

“Anyone in a senior position in product-technology and the broader organization has to have deep mobile awareness and expertise," said Mukesh Bansal, head, commerce platform, at Flipkart. “If you’re going to be in a market where 90% of the users are mobile-only, your leadership and product teams need to understand that very deeply."

Separately, Flipkart said it has tied up with the tiffin delivery professionals, or dabbawalas, in Mumbai for product deliveries to customers.

Initially, the dabbawalas will collect shipments from Flipkart delivery hubs and deliver it to customers while picking their tiffins.

“The dabbawalas of Mumbai are one of the most reliable and trusted brands in the city," said Neeraj Aggarwal, senior director of last mile delivery at Flipkart. “Their unique delivery system has been smooth, reliable and has survived the test of time—even under extreme conditions that are atypical to a city like Mumbai. We are partnering with them and leveraging this unique expertise to enhance our last mile delivery capabilities."

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