The Hush Post|11:20am| 2-min read
The co-founder and CEO of e-commerce company Flipkart Group Binny Bansal resigned after an investigation into allegations of sexual assault.
Bansal, 37, stepped down immediately following an independent probe into the allegations, Walmart said. Bansal has denied the allegations. NDTV reported that the accusation came in late July, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The person said the accuser was a former Flipkart employee. However, another person familiar with the situation said the woman never worked there.
Investigators concluded Bansal and the woman had a consensual affair, people working at the e commerce portal said.
“While the investigation did not find evidence to corroborate the complainant’s assertions, it did reveal other lapses in judgment,”Walmart said in a statement. There was a lack of transparency, related to how Binny responded to the situation, the statement read.
In an e-mail sent out to employees shortly after Walmart announced his departure, Bansal said he would continue to hold his substantial stake in Flipkart. He would also remain a member of its board.
Binny’s parting e-mail
After his resignation, Binny also wrote an email to Flipkart employees. Read the full text of that email:
Dear Flipkart Family,
Since co-founding Flipkart with modest resources in 2007, the journey we have embarked on together has been arduous and rewarding, culminating with the fantastic news of our partnership with Walmart earlier this year. They have been great partners and I am optimistic about our future together.
For some time, I have been mulling over the right time to step away from an operating role at Flipkart Group.
My plan was to continue in my current role for a few more quarters to continue the transition after closing the deal with Walmart. However, my decision to step down has been accelerated by certain personal events that have taken place in the recent past.
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.
The investigation, however, did bring to light lapses in judgment, particularly a lack of transparency, related to how I responded to the situation. These have been challenging times for my family and me. I am concerned that this may become a distraction for the company and the team. In light of these circumstances, I feel it is best to step away as Chairman and Group CEO.
I will continue to be a large shareholder in the company and will continue to serve as a member of the Board of Directors.
I am convinced that the company is in great hands with our experienced leaders – Kalyan, Ananth and Sameer. They have done an exceptional job running the businesses for many years now and with the support of Walmart that I have experienced, will continue to lead the company to even greater successes in the future.
Thank you for all the goodwill that you’ve shown towards me over the years. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to help get us to where we are today. I look forward to seeing Flipkart scale greater heights in the coming years.
Setback to Walmart
Walmart had bought a majority stake in its $16 billion purchase of Flipkart in August. Bansal’s net worth went upto $1 billion with this deal.
The resignation is a setback for Walmart in its economic tussle with rival Amazon.com. Walmart has placed a huge bet on the unprofitable Flipkart unit.
“This has been an unfortunate and challenging situation for Binny, his family and Flipkart,” Walmart said in a separate internal note.
Krishnamurthy is interim CEO
Kalyan Krishnamurthy, currently chief of the Flipkart division, a unit of Flipkart Group, will now report directly to the board, Walmart said. A succession plan is being accelerated, the company said.
Krishnamurthy joined Flipkart in 2013 as its interim chief financial officer. He spent seven years in EBay Inc.’s Asia finance operations before joining Tiger Global as its finance director in 2011.
Bansal co-founded Flipkart with Sachin Bansal in 2007. They parted ways as a deal with Walmart was made.