Papatla will head a new unit at Booking.com to look at providing customers with travel experiences apart from booking rooms. His departure comes at a time when retail giants Walmart and Amazon are in the running for a majority stake in Flipkart.
Papatla would move to Amsterdam, headquarters of Booking.com. He confirmed to Business Standard he would be vice-president for global experiences at Booking.com.
A Flipkart spokesperson also said Friday was his last day at the company.
Prior to his two year, seven-month stint at Flipkart, he was director of product management and marketing at Amazon. He also worked with global-technology giant Microsoft for 15 years, in several roles. The last of which was at the company's research and development (R&D) centre in India. "It's a good career opportunity that I have always been aiming for. Also, the team at Flipkart is very good. We've hired amazing leaders. So, I'm leaving the team at a good time. It's a reflection of my own transition and Flipkart has prepared me to take on something new," said Papatla.
Booking.com has a market capitalisation of around $100 billion. It was one of the global pioneers in online hotel bookings. The company now wants to provide affiliate services. It owns and operates Rentalcars.com, an aggregator for car rental services, and OpenTable, a restaurant discovery and table reservation platform. It is trying to offer other experiences, such as tourist attractions around the rooms its customers book.
Staff resignation at Flipkart has been one of the major talking points since 2016 when the company started facing a cash crunch. It was followed by several changes in the top management, including change of chief executive officers. A dozen top executives had quit in that time, even as a strong team of 80-odd executives at the second-level was put together. Flipkart has recovered over the past year and also raised nearly $4 billion in 2017.
In a previous interaction, Kalyan Krishnamurthy, chief executive of Flipkart, had said there had been few or no top-level exits. "If you look at the last one year or eight to 10 months, attrition at a leadership level at Flipkart, it's actually at a record low. Today, we have 75 to 80 senior seasoned leaders in the company as senior directors and vice-presidents," he said.