Mukesh Bansal: An approachable taskmaster

Priyanka Pani | | | Updated on: Feb 10, 2016

BL11_03_MUKESHBANSAL

Mukesh Bansal’s exit from Flipkart is not surprising given that he was not given a larger role in the $15-billion company. Flipkart made a top-level restructuring recently and had elevated its founder Sachin Bansal as its Chairman and Binny Bansal as CEO. However, Mukesh Bansal’s role as Head of Commerce and Ads did not change.

Mukesh, who turned 40 last year, while aggressive on the professional level and believes in output, is an introvert by nature.

A very goal-oriented person, Mukesh used to report to Sachin till last year, before reporting to 33-year-old Binny.

While Sachin and Binny are the original founders of Flipkart, Mukesh joined Flipkart post acquisition of Myntra. Mukesh co-founded Myntra in 2007 along with Ashutosh Lawania and Vineet Saxena, around the same time Flipkart started as a book-seller.

The merger was also influenced by two large common shareholders — Tiger Global and Accel Partners.

An IIT-Kanpur alumni, Mukesh started Myntra as an online firm selling customised T-shirt and other merchandise such as coffee mugs.

However, Mukesh quickly pivoted the business and Myntra went on to become the largest fashion e-tailer by 2010, giving tough competition to Flipkart and other vertical players such as Jabong.

However, it was the sharp business acumen of Mukesh that led to the acquisition of Myntra by Flipkart in 2013 for ₹2,400 crore, making it the first major and biggest acquisition in the e-commerce space then. While Vineet Saxena quit after getting a few crores richer post acquisition, Mukesh and Lawania joined the Flipkart’s Bansals.

Initiatives Under Mukesh’s leadership, Flipkart-Myntra together witnessed several new initiatives, including the Big Billion Day sale and also the company’s focus on mobile. The company’s major rebranding exercise also was driven by Mukesh.

He was also the brain behind converting Myntra to an app only e-tailer with focus on private labels.

This has led to Myntra’s profitability at operational level.

Mukesh is known as very hard working and intelligent businessman among his colleagues. Bansal, in an internal letter to colleagues, said he has been working continuously for the last 10 years and he needs a break for at least six months to spend quality time with his family.

‘People’s guy’ For many of his ex colleagues, Mukesh was a very approachable boss but a hard taskmaster at the same time.

“No one could get away by throwing random numbers at him. He was very particular about finance and numbers. But, he was also not a guy who will send you mails at night. He was a people’s guy,” said an ex-colleague on request of anonymity.

He was an IITian in all means and till the Myntra acquisition one could see him in denims, T-shirts and slippers, but with an impeccable sense of fashion. He was responsible for driving the fashion vertical of Flipkart and increasing the fashion quotient at the company. Mukesh was also the brain behind designing the Flipkart and Myntra’s new offices touted as the best designed offices among start-ups.

From being a very camera shy person, Mukesh went on to become a suave leader and his personality changed over the course of time. However, till last year, Mukesh used to drive a Verna and still doesn’t own a high-end car even though he is worth a few hundred crores.

Published on February 10, 2016
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