Speaking at a company townhall, Sachin Bansal sought to allay employee fears about the company’s performance over the past year and a half as well as reassure employees disgruntled with the recently announced layoffs.
According to media reports, the layoffs announced last month will account for nearly 700-1000 Flipkart employees, though company sources claim that the number is closer to 300. Addressing around 200 Flipkart employees, Bansal is said to have emphasized that the layoffs were part of the company’s annual performance review, citing his own case as an example.
“Just look at who was management six months ago, one year ago, and who is management today. It’s completely changed. Right? Yeah, I mean, nobody is here. I have changed. I was the CEO and I have changed. It was performance linked,” Sachin Bansal is alleged to have said, according to a report by FactorDaily.
Sachin Bansal stepped down as CEO with co-founder Binny Bansal replacing him. Flipkart has seen a string of high level exits in recent months as it seeks to streamline costs under increasing pressure from investors. These include Mukesh Bansal, the founder of Myntra, which Flipkart acquired last year and who served as Flipkart’s Head of Commerce, Chief Business Officer Ankit Nagori, Manish Maheshwari, the head of Seller Business, Abhijit Bhattacharya, Director of Brand Marketing & Head Media and Punit Soni, the Chief Product Officer.
The e-retailer, which has a staff of 30,000, one of the largest in the Indian e-commerce sector, had just earlier this year come under intense criticism after it delayed the joining of graduates from some of India’s top B-schools citing business restructuring. The company had apologized on its blog and offered a Rs 1.5 lakh compensation package while promising to get all the candidates onboard by December this year.
In the same townhall meeting, Sachin Bansal also reiterated the need for the company to compete with Amazon, which has overtaken Snapdeal as the second biggest e-retailer in the country and is closing in on Flipkart. However, whereas Amazon has announced a further investment of $3 billion in India spread over the next few years, Flipkart has seen a downslide in investor sentiment.
In the last few months, Flipkart has seen a series of devaluations, which have left its current valuation at around $9.4 billion, from a one-time high of approximately $15 billion. However, this has not stopped the company’s ambitions as it recently acquired beleaguered fashion e-retailer Jabong for an amount rumoured to be around $70 million in July.