Flipkart loses top talent yet again, CFO Sanjay Baweja quits

Sanjay Baweja
Flipkart co-founder and chief executive Binny Bansal’s struggle to retain top talent continues as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Sanjay Baweja quit a little under two years after joining the company from Tata Communications.

Baweja’s exit comes at a time when Bansal’s push to revive growth after a year’s gap was beginning to work.

At the same time, Flipkart’s efforts to raise fresh funds from investors to fuel business and fend off aggressive competition from global rival Amazon faces a setback with this exit.

Confirming Baweja’s exit, a Flipkart spokesperson said the company was looking for a replacement.

Baweja will continue to be with the company till December-end.

Since the top management rejig in January this year, which saw Bansal take over the reins as CEO, exits in the top echelons of Flipkart have become common. Punit Soni, the star hire from Google, quit the company less than a year after he joined.

The other exits are that of Mukesh Bansal, whose company was acquired by Flipkart, following which he managed some of the top portfolios there.

Ankit Nagori, a long-time Flipster, quit from the position of chief business officer to start his own company with Mukesh Bansal.

In a townhall meeting with employees in August, co-founder Sachin Bansal termed his stepping down from the position of CEO was ‘performance-linked’. He said the entire management change, too, was driven by the same force that had him ousted from the top position.

“Just look at who was (in the) management six months ago, one year ago, and who is (in the) management today. It’s completely changed. Right? Yeah, I mean, nobody is here. I have changed. I was the chief executive and I have changed. It was performance-linked,” Sachin Bansal had told employees, according to FactorDaily.

While several people from Flipkart’s management have quit, replacements aren’t coming in as quickly.

Some would say Kalyan Krishnamurthy, an old hand at Tiger Global (one of the leading backers of Flipkart) who was brought back into the company, is now running the show, though Bansal has denied it.

Krishnamurthy’s role in the company has been steadily expanding under the designation Head of Category Design Organization at Flipkart. Even the recent Big Billion Days sale, which Flipkart has been promoting as a success was largely overlooked by him.

It’s clear that Krishnamurthy has been brought back to Flipkart to pull up the socks and help ward off an attack from rival Amazon.

But, if the company finds itself without a CFO after Baweja’s exit, they would know exactly who to call, as Krishnamurthy had served as interim CFO of the company before his exit in 2014.

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