Exclusive: Kalyan Krishnamurthy likely to move out from Flipkart after Walmart deal

Flipkart

Flipkart’s CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy is likely to hang his boots at India’s largest online marketplace post-Walmart acquisition. While exact timeline for his movement is not clear, three sources indicate that he will move after the deal with Walmart materialises.

The SoftBank-backed company is very close to striking a largest funding deal ever by an Indian e-commerce company with Walmart. The global retail giant will acquire up to 80 per cent of Flipkart for $10-12 billion investment in the Bengaluru-based company.

“Krishnamurthy had made a comeback when Flipkart was losing market share to Amazon in 2017. Since then, he made the company to recover lost market share in the smartphone and other categories. Now, as Flipkart is being acquired by Walmart, Krishnamurthy job appears to have completed,” mentions one of the sources aware of the development.

However, responding to Entrackr’s query, Flipkart vehemently denied it. “This is false, malicious and completely baseless” says Flipkart in an email response.

Krishnamurthy will return to Tiger Global with a bigger role in India and SEA region, emphasises the other two sources. The sources requested anonymity as their relationship with Flipkart and Tiger Global can be jeopardised.

In December last year, Entrackr exclusively reported that Krishnamurthy was considering an exit from Flipkart. Importantly, Flipkart’s co-founder and Chairman Binny Bansal is also anticipated to make an exit from Flipkart.

Sachin Bansal along with Binny are planning to sell their stakes to Walmart. While Sachin will retain some equity in the company, Binny is set to make a complete exit.

With 5.5 percent equity in Flipkart, both Bansal will make $1.10 billion (or Rs 7,344 crore) each. The company will reportedly be valued approx $20 billion in the ongoing deal.

“Krishnamurthy is a key lieutenant in Lee Fixel-led Tiger Global operations in India. With Tiger exiting from Flipkart, the hedge fund’s interest is bound to evaporate from it. After exiting from Flipkart, Tiger is expected to accelerate its bets in India. Krishnamurthy is likely to lead such investments,” adds one of the two sources quoted above.

While Walmart won’t like Krishnamurthy and other key employees to leave early, sources stress that the American retail giant may also come-up with some clauses to retain them before chipping fresh management team. “Sooner than the later Krishnamurthy exit will happen,” adds one of the three sources.

Krishnamurthy had come to Flipkart from Tiger Global Management in June 2016 as head — ‘category design organization’. He came back to Flipkart barely five months after it replaced Sachin with Binny as its CEO in 2016.

Update: We have updated the headline and included Flipkart’s official stand on the development.

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