Binny Bansal resigned from Walmart’s Flipkart due to sexual assault

Binny Bansal, the co-founder and CEO of Flipkart Group, Walmart’s Indian e-commerce business, has resigned from the position following an internal probe into accusations of an alleged sexual assault.
Flipkart online shopWalmart said on Tuesday that he resigned from the position after enquiry about “serious personal misconduct,”. The misconduct accusations followed an allegation of sexual assault, two people familiar with the matter said, Reuters reported.

The departure of Binny Bansal, 37, one of the co-founders of Bangalore-based Flipkart, could be a setback for Walmart’s efforts to compete with in India’s huge consumer market. A tech-savvy billionaire, Binny Bansal took over as CEO of Flipkart in 2016. Binny Bansal became the chairman and group CEO of the e-commerce company this year.

Walmart paid $16 billion for 77 percent stake in Flipkart in May. The investment is the U.S. retailer’s biggest acquisition and was a major move in its efforts to compete against Amazon’s growing market share at home and abroad.

In a note sent to Flipkart employees, which was seen by Reuters, Bansal said recent events led him to step down from his role as chairman and CEO. He said the events related to a claim of misconduct against him, “which was uncorroborated after a thorough investigation completed by an independent law firm.”

Bansal did not give details of the nature of the claim. “The allegations left me stunned and I strongly deny them,” he wrote.

“The investigation, however, did bring to light lapses in judgment, particularly a lack of transparency, related to how I responded to the situation,” he said, without elaborating further.

A person in the United States familiar with the Walmart investigation said “a claim of sexual assault against Binny” came to its attention in late July. The accusation dated to a few years earlier and was made by a former Flipkart associate, who was not with Flipkart at the time.

Walmart said in a filing that it conducted its own investigation into the allegations, without saying what the accusations were.

“While the investigation did not find evidence to corroborate the complainant’s assertions against Binny, it did reveal other lapses in judgment, particularly a lack of transparency, related to how Binny responded to the situation.” Walmart said. “Because of this, we have accepted his decision to resign.”

The person familiar with the matter at Walmart said that Bansal had hired two private security firms at the end of 2016, “to make this matter go away,” referring to the alleged assault claim.

Kalyan Krishnamurthy, who heads the company’s main Flipkart e-commerce operation, would act as chief executive for a broader group of businesses including apparel websites Myntra and Jabong, Walmart said

Ananth Narayanan, who is the CEO of Myntra and Jabong, will continue in those roles and will now report to Krishnamurthy.