Walmart's Indian e-commerce company Flipkart's CEO Binny Bansal (pictured) has resigned from his position, effective immediately. This comes following an independent investigation on behalf of Flipkart and Walmart into an allegation of personal misconduct.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a former Flipkart employee claimed that Bansal had "sexually assaulted" her back in 2016. The article said that in a Walmart interview, Bansal had informed the investigators that it was a consensual relationship with the female employee and denied assault claims. In a statement, Walmart did not go into detail of the personal misconduct.
The statement said: "[Bansal] strongly denies the allegation. Nevertheless, we had a responsibility to ensure the investigation was deliberate and thorough. While the investigation did not find evidence to corroborate the complainant’s assertions against [Bansal], it did reveal other lapses in judgement, particularly a lack of transparency, related to how [Bansal] responded to the situation. Because of this, we have accepted his decision to resign."
The statement added that both Flipkart and Walmart has accepted the resignation and highlighted that Bansal has been "contemplating" a transition for some time and all three parties have been working together on a succession plan. Going forward, Kalyan Krishnamurthy will continue to be CEO of Flipkart. Flipkart will now include online shopping sites 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 Kalyan. Sameer Nigam will continue leading financial technology company, PhonePe as CEO. Both 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," the statement from both Flipkart and Walmart said.
Earlier this year, Walmart announced that it was looking to buy a majority stake in India’s Flipkart e-commerce company, upping the heat on rival Amazon. The retailer said it would dish out US$16 billion for a 77% stake in the company. The remainder of the business will be held by some of Flipkart’s existing shareholders, including Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal, Tencent Holdings, Tiger Global Management LLC and Microsoft Corp.
While the immediate focus will be on serving customers and growing the business, Walmart supports Flipkart’s ambition to transition into a publicly-listed, majority-owned subsidiary in the future. In a press statement, Doug McMillon, Walmart’s president and chief executive officer, said India was one of the most attractive retail markets in the world, given its size and growth rate.
“Our investment is an opportunity to partner with the company that is leading the transformation of e-commerce in the market. As a company, we are transforming globally to meet and exceed the needs of customers and we look forward to working with Flipkart to grow in this critical market,” he said.