Satyam Bansal, Chief of Staff for Executive Chairman and co-founder of Flipkart Sachin Bansal exits Flipkart after a three year stint to join Hotstar, an online video streaming platform, as its Senior Vice President – Partnerships & Distribution, in Mumbai.
His exit comes in the wake of strong speculation that Flipkart’s investors are actively looking to bring in professional management to run India’s largest e-commerce firm early next year, replacing both founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal.
Satyam who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Mumbai University and an MBA in Entrepreneurship & Finance from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business joined Flipkart as Associate Director of strategic product partnerships and digital/mobile marketing in October 2013 to build strategic partnerships and alliances, a fresh charter at the time for Flipkart.
Appointed Chief of Staff in April 2016, Satyam ran the office of the Chairman with responsibilities ranging from being the sounding board for the Chairman, leading product and analytics for Flipkart’s private label brand, working towards strategizing several top priority initiatives and building A teams. He held the position for just 7 months before joining Hotstar, owned by Novi Digital Entertainment Private Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Star India Private Ltd.
E-commerce analysts who did not wish to be identified said, “Satyam was more of a products person than Chief of Staffs’ material and was obviously sidelined in this role from his previous more powerful role as Director – Growth for Products, Sales, Alliances and Digital Marketing which he held for 15 months."
The pressure is building up within Flipkart as its investors are looking to bring in a professional management to run the company, a significant move that will rock the boat and prompt many more exits in the next few weeks, they said.
Indian start-up founders need more hand-holding to be at the helm of affairs and it is about time that professional managements are brought into play, observes Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst, Greyhound Research.
He said, as and when this happens at Flipkart, other Indian start-ups that look up to Flipkart will take the cue and start the process of reassessing leadership skills internally and look beyond founders to professionals to manage their companies.
Pointing out that Flipkart has been very dismissive of the spate of senior exits from the company over the last 12 months, failing to communicate responsibly about them to the market, Gogia said “Flipkart is a large company, operating like a listed company without actually being a listed company and requires to be able to understand the importance of such exits, learn from it and communicate it maturely to the market.”