INDIA – Walmart owned Flipkart’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Binny Bansal has resigned from the company following an investigation into an alleged ‘serious personal misconduct’.
According to the US retail giant, Binny has strongly denied the allegation and though the investigation did not find evidence to assert the allegations, it revealed a lack of transparency in the accused responses.
“His decision follows an independent investigation done on behalf of Flipkart and Walmart into an allegation of serious personal misconduct,” said Walmart.
Binny had acknowledged in an email sent to employees within Flipkart that ‘recent events risked becoming a distraction’, events that preceded the exit.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, a former Flipkart employee came forward over the summer alleging Bansal had sexually assaulted her sometime around 2016.
Walmart interviewed Bansal who told investigators that he had a consensual relationship with the woman and denied he had assaulted her according to the story in the Wall Street Journal.
Bansal’s e-mail statement to Flipkart associates also contained a denial: “These events relate to a claim of serious personal misconduct made against me, which was uncorroborated after a thorough investigation completed by an independent law firm.
The allegations left me stunned and I strongly deny them.”
After Walmart took over Flipkart, India’s largest ecommerce platform for US$16 billion, there were murmurs that Binny might have to call it a quit at the company, also given that management changes were expected.
Analysts had pointed out that Binny who is one of the co-founders of Flipkart, ‘didn’t really have a role as the Group CEO any longer’, as the transition was meant to not disrupt the business momentum.
Whether the development is a setback to Walmart especially after the Flipkart deal remains a speculation among analysts.
In what seemed to a battle for online business, Flipkart received US41.4 billion in investments from Tencent, Microsoft and eBay in April 2017, valuing it at US$11.4 billion.
It received an additional US$2.5 billion from SoftBank in August 2017 in the next phase of the same fundraising round.
Walmart’s deal with Flipkart was termed as the biggest acquisition of an e-commerce firm ever
Business Today reported that Kalyan Krishnamurthy, who currently heads Flipkart’s ecommerce platforms, would be in charge of Indian business following the ‘surprise’ resignation of the former.