Flipkart has appointed Saroj Panigrahi, who was head of JP Morgan’s legal department in India, as its senior vice-president and general counsel as the Walmart, Inc-owned e-commerce giant readies for a proposed initial public offering (IPO) this year or 2022.
“I’m pleased to announce the appointment of Saroj Panigrahi as senior vice president and general counsel for Flipkart Commerce,” said Flipkart Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, in an internal email sent to employees in December 2020. “In this role, Saroj will be responsible for all legal matters in Flipkart with particular focus on the board management, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and regulatory compliance.”
He said Panigrahi is a “global leader” with an extensive board and CXO-level experience as a General Counsel and a “trusted” business partner, having provided counsel across technology, financial services, telecom and pharmaceuticals industries.
Bijoya Roy, who has led the legal operations of the Bengaluru-based firm since January 2019 will transition into the role of vice president, head of legal for Flipkart Operations and report to Panigrahi. “She will dedicate her focus towards overseeing all legal matters towards the operations across Flipkart, Myntra and Flipkart Wholesale,” said Krishnamurthy.
Panigrahi was the chief legal officer and a member of the operating committee of JP Morgan Chase, India Corporate Center. In this role, he oversaw legal advisory, transaction, corporate governance and strategic legal support to the business. Previously, he was the general counsel and member of the board of directors with Vodafone’s Indian Holding and Services Companies. There he led several major transactions and the successful outcome of high-profile litigation.
Over his 22-year career, Panigrahi has gained deep and vast experience of leading in-house counsels and managing external counsels with practice areas spanning M&A (mergers and acquisitions), corporate transactions and IPO. The other areas of his expertise include board/shareholders’ affairs, corporate governance, policy and regulation. He has also vast experience in areas such as international contracts, technology, antitrust and data protection, real estate, employment and dispute management. Panigrahi is a law graduate, a Fellow Company Secretary, a Chartered Secretary (UK) and a Chartered Financial Analyst by qualification.
In December 2020, Flipkart made key changes to its board as it readies for a proposed initial public offering (IPO) by next year. The firm is expecting to go public at a valuation of around $40-50 billion, revealed sources. The new directors to the board from are: Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of HDFC Ltd Keki Mistry, two new directors from Walmart — Global Chief Technology Officer and Chief Development Officer Suresh Kumar and Executive Vice-President (EVP) of International Strategy and Development for Walmart International Leigh Hopkins, along with Flipkart Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy.
Steuart Walton, the scion of the billionaire Walmart dynasty, is stepping down from the Flipkart board to be able to focus on his role as chair of the Walmart board’s tech committee. But he will continue to be an active sponsor for Flipkart. Walton joined the board, following Walmart’s investment.