Binny Bansal, chief executive officer of Flipkart, has brought back key hand Kalyan Krishnamurthy as head of categories, as he looks to strengthen his leadership team and fend off an attack from rival Amazon.
Krishnamurthy is a veteran at marquee investor Tiger Global, which has been an investor in Flipkart since 2011. During his nearly two-year stint at Flipkart starting in early 2013, he served as the head of categories and as interim chief financial officer. In November 2014, he left the company to join the Singapore office of Tiger, at a time when Lee Fixel began aggressively investing in India.
Tiger is also an investor in Amazon, which has recently committed a further $3 billion in its India unit, taking its total investment in the country since mid 2014 up to $5 billion. In the three years Amazon has been in the country, it has been able to eat into Flipkart's market share, though the Indian firm continues to lead the space.
Krishnamurthy, a number guy, was part of Flipkart's top management team during a period when the company saw phenomenal growth.
When contacted, a Flipkart spokesperson declined to comment on the development.
Flipkart has seen several top level exits, including that of Chief Product Officer Punit Soni, Chief Business Officer Ankit Nagori, head of seller business Manish Maheshwari and head of commerce and advertising Mukesh Bansal. The churn began soon after Binny Bansal took over as CEO of Flipkart in January.
The company which has come under pressure from investors to cut losses and has seen several mark downs to its valuation, is looking at new business avenues such as logistics and advertising to drive revenues. Currently both these portfolios are directly under the oversight of CEO Binny Bansal.
Amazon, which has replenished its war chest to take over the Indian e-commerce market, recently dropped seller commissions as a way to bypass the new FDI norms which prohibits players from offering discounts. The move which coincided with Flipkart's decision to increase seller commissions could kick off another price war in the space.