The first executive casualty of the $16 billion blockbuster deal in which Walmart acquired Flipkart is Binny Bansal, co-founder and CEO of Flipkart Group. In filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, (Nov. 13) Walmart said Bansal is stepping down after recent events risked becoming a distraction.
“His decision follows an independent investigation done on behalf of Flipkart and Walmart into an allegation of serious personal misconduct,” Walmart noted in the filing.
While Bansal denies the allegation, Walmart said it has the responsibility to ensure the investigation was deliberate and thorough. The investigation did not find evidence to corroborate the complainant’s assertions against Bansal, but it did reveal other lapses in judgment, particularly a lack of transparency, related to how he responded to the situation.
Walmart said because of the findings the company is accepting Bansal’s resignation. Given he has been contemplating a transition, Walmart said they have worked on a succession plan that is now being accelerated.
Kalyan Krishnamurthy will continue to be CEO of Flipkart, with Myntra and Jabong, continuing to operate as separate platforms within the Flipkart business. Ananth Narayanan will continue providing great leadership as CEO of Myntra and Jabong, and will report into Krishnamurthy. Sameer Nigam will continue leading PhonePe as CEO. Krishnamurthy and Nigam will report directly into the board.
“As we look ahead, we have full confidence in the strength and depth of leadership across the company. We remain committed to investing for the long-term and are supportive of the leadership team’s desire to evolve into a publicly-traded company in the future,” Walmart noted in the filing.
Walmart became the largest shareholder in Flipkart in August when the $16 billion deal closed giving Walmart a 77% stake in the company. Walmart said early on it would leave the Flipkart management in place because the team has done an amazing job growing a diversified portfolio of businesses which was being run by Bansal.
Bansal said in May Walmart was the ideal partner for the next phase of Flipkart’s journey.
“We look forward to working together in the years ahead to bring our strengths and learnings in retail and eCommerce to the fore,” Bansal said then the deal was announced in May.
As a co-founder Bansal owned a large stake in Flipkart when Walmart took majority control. In a letter to Flipkart employees, Bansal said he will continue to serve on the Flipkart board and retain his shares in the company.
He said he was “stunned” by the allegations made against him which came to light in July.