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Flipkart's Bansals see role change ahead of US listing

The move is christened as the 'next phase of the journey' to build a great Internet company out of India ahead of a public listing on the US bourses in the next few years

BS Reporter  |  Bengaluru 

Flipkart's Bansals see role change ahead of US listing

Binny Bansal, co-founder and the backroom boy of Flipkart, has been made chief executive of India's largest e-commerce company, while Sachin Bansal, co-founder and incumbent CEO, has been elevated as chairman.

In the rejig, Mukesh Bansal, founder of Myntra who sold his company to Flipkart, will lose hold of the fashion discovery platform but gets a larger portfolio of managing the entire commerce business. He will report to Binny Bansal.

The move is christened as the 'next phase of the journey' to build a great Internet company out of India ahead of a public listing on the US bourses in the next few years. It also comes at a time when Flipkart, valued at $15 billion, is facing intense competition from local rival Snapdeal backed by Japanese investor SoftBank and US e-commerce behemoth Amazon.

Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon control 80 per cent of India's $12-13 billion e-commerce market. Amazon, which has committed $2 billion so far in India, has an open cheque to buy itself a bigger chunk of the market.

The shy and reserved Binny Bansal, who takes his Hayabusa superbike on long rides, built the backend network of suppliers since 2007 when Flipkart began as an online book seller. An operations person with an eye for detail and focus on efficiency, he crafted Flipkart's customer experience that helped it initially win customers and investors. Binny (not related to Sachin), will now become the public face, answerable to both.

Flipkart's Bansals see role change ahead of US listing
Analysts say the leadership reshuffle at Flipkart shows the maturity of the venture-capital backed firm, which is the largest India has produced.

"Sachin Bansal is going to focus on the external environment. Binny Bansal will manage the business. This has become clear," said Arvind Singhal, managing director of management consulting firm Technopak.

"Now Flipkart has been in business for eight-odd years and it is sufficiently big to start focusing from the founders' point of view both on internal and external opportunities and challenges," he added.

Flipkart claims it and Myntra have over 50 million smartphone app users, giving them control of 60 per cent of the mobile commerce marketplace."It will be our endeavour to fulfil this responsibility and prove that India can produce a world-class Internet company that can outshine any global behemoth," Sachin Bansal said in a statement. With three of out of five shoppers in largely mobile India buying goods on Flipkart's smartphone apps, Sachin Bansal has the confidence to set an aggressive tone against the competition.

"We will continue to build a world-class customer experience, expand our supply chain infrastructure to reach all parts of India, drive innovations in mobile commerce and bring in disruptive technologies," said Binny Bansal. In their new roles, Sachin Bansal will mentor senior management and explore new investments in start-ups and other businesses. The advertising arm, which he incubated, will be headed by Mukesh Bansal, who also is responsible for the commerce platform.

Ananth Narayanan, chief executive of Myntra, a company Mukesh Bansal founded and sold to Flipkart, will report to Binny Bansal. Binny Bansal will drive the business, overseeing commerce, logistics as well as Myntra.

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First Published: Tue, January 12 2016. 00:59 IST