Old Guards Come Back to Push this Kart Ahead Flipkart has rehired Manish Kumar as VP business development, and Nitin Rajput as a director
Kartwheeling MANISH KUMAR NITIN RAJPUT
Bengaluru: The appointment of Kalyan Krishnamurthy to helm Flipkart has seen a return of the old-guard to run new ventures. The company has hired back Manish Kumar, former senior director of retail at the company as vice-president of business development. According to one source familiar with the development, Kumar will lead the grocery business for the Bengaluru-based online retail major. Nitin Rajput, cofounder of Bollywood content company Chakpak which was acquired by Flipkart in 2011, is also back as a director.
Just before joining Flipkart, Rajput and Kumar were working on a startup related to ecommerce and subscription model for the past one year. Rajput was in charge of launching categories such as fashion, large appliances as well as the ad business for Flipkart and left in August 2014. Kumar was senior director who re-launched TV & large appliances category, before leaving in May 2015. The launch of grocery as a category by Flipkart was a move which was decided on last year. It will directly take on rival Amazon India’s Amazon Now which delivers fresh produce and groceries within 2 hours.
be senior director of retail at Flipkart
charge of launching categories such as fashion, large appliances as well as the ad business lead the grocery business The company refused to comment on the appointment of Kumar and Rajput or on details of the launch of the category. In an interview to ET in December, CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy had said:
“We will do pilots (in grocery). But we are very serious about the
of Chakpak which was acquired by Flipkart in 2011 category and have a long-term view on it. We believe we are now at a scale where it can be built in a sustainable way, which is through innovation. It’s easy to build it by burning a lot of capital.”
However, the margins in grocery are low at 5-10% despite being a high repeat category. BigBasket is currently the largest on-demand vertical player in the space while others like Grofers have moved to a pre-scheduled delivery model. But the space has seen an aggressive push by Flipkart’s main rival, US-based online retail major Amazon.
The recent change of captain at Flipkart saw top-level exits in January. After Krishnamurthy took over as CEO, multiple executives who were hired by Flipkart in 2015 made an exit. Most notable exits were of Saikiran Krishnamurthy, who headed the captive logistics and supply chain arm Ekart, chief marketing officer Samardeep Subandh, and senior vice-president and head of product Surojit Chatterjee.