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

The Economic Times - - Disruption: Startups & Tech - Payal.Gan­guly@ times­group.com

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.

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