Flipkart made significant changes to its board of directors as the Walmart-backed e-commerce company prepares to go public in the US by 2022. Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO of Flipkart Group, will join the board with three new directors: Keki Mistry, Vice Chairman and CEO of HDFC; Suresh Kumar, who is Walmart’s global chief technology officer and chief development officer; and Leigh Hopkins, executive vice president of strategy and development for Walmart International.
“I am also honored to have been invited to the Board of Directors from next year and look forward to working with existing and new Directors to support Flipkart’s next steps and growth path,” said Krishnamurthy in an internal e- Mail to the employees.
U.S.-based Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, invested $ 16 billion in a majority stake in Bengaluru-based Flipkart in 2018, valuing it at less than $ 21 billion. Walmart made a $ 1.2 billion investment in Flipkart in July this year, valued at $ 24.9 billion.
“They (Flipkart) are preparing to go public,” said an industry source familiar with Flipkart’s IPO strategy. “You are reconstructing the board and trying to professionalize it further so that you are prepared for the IPO and have the right different skills and the right mix of external and internal employees to demonstrate this.” The company expects it will go public at around $ 40 billion to $ 50 billion, according to sources.
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Some Flipkart directors will step down two years after Walmart’s investment. Steuart Walton, the scion of the billionaire Walmart dynasty, will leave the Flipkart board to focus on his role as chairman of the group board’s technology committee. He will continue to work with Flipkart. Walton led Flipkart in combining his entrepreneurship with the benefits of being part of the global company, said Krishnamurthy.
Rajesh Magow, who has been associated with Flipkart for nearly ten years, is stepping down to take on an advisory role. After Walmart’s investment, he had agreed to remain on the board to support the company’s transition under this new ownership structure. As the founder and CEO of MakeMyTrip, his experience and understanding as an e-commerce leader was extremely valuable in the company’s board of directors discussions.
After Flipkart partially outsourced the digital payment company PhonePe, Rohit Bhagat became Chairman of the PhonePe board of directors. Flipkart got stuck in Bhagat to focus entirely on PhonePe and get off the Flipkart board. He is expected to bring his fintech expertise to PhonePe.
Dirk Van den Berghe is stepping down from his position as Executive Vice President for Walmart’s Asia operations and global procurement organization at the end of March. He will also step down from the Flipkart board and continue to support the company as a consultant.
“We would like to thank all four Directors for their important contributions at such an important time in the development of Flipkart,” said Krishnamurthy. “All four made a huge difference to our progress as board members, providing valuable advice and challenging us to be more ambitious.”
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