India's biggest e-commerce company Flipkart's co-founder Binny Bansal stepped down on Tuesday as the chief executive officer of the company. Announcing the development, the firm's owner Walmart Inc said in a statement that Binny took the decision following an independent probe into allegations of "serious personal misconduct".
Though the probe could not established any conclusive evidence against the 37-year-old, Walmart said the events surrounding the allegations had "risked becoming a distraction", prompting Binny to resign.
Who is Binny Bansal?
Binny was raised by a banker father and a mother who served as a public servant.
In 2007, he co-founded Flipkart with his IIT-Delhi batchmate Sachin Bansal. Prior to this, Binny worked for an IT firm Sarnoff, and later, joined Amazon " where Sachin was also an employee.
The Chandigarh duo envisaged making shopping easier. Sachin began operations of Flipkart in August 2007 and was joined by Binny about a month later.
With Rs 4 lakh as funds, Flipkart was launched as a platform to buy books online. The duo enabled the 'cash-on-delivery' facility to win the confidence of Indian consumers in online shopping.
In January 2016, Binny was appointed as the group CEO, in place of Sachin, who became the executive chairman of the company.
The two entrepreneurs were jointly named "Asian of the Year 2016" by Singapore-based newspaper The Straits Times.
In May 2018, Walmart bought a 77 percent equity stake in Flipkart for a whopping $16 billion. Sachin left the company soon after the deal was sealed, and sold his entire 5.5 percent stake to Walmart as part of the deal.
Binny had then expressed that Walmart is the ideal partner for the next phase of Flipkart journey.
Binny to remain shareholder
Despite his exit, Binny said he will continue to remain a large shareholder and board member of the firm.
In an email to employees, Binny said that he had been mulling over the right time to step away from an operating role at Flipkart "for some time".
"My plan was to continue in my current role for a few more quarters to continue the transition after closing the deal with Walmart. However, my decision to step down has been accelerated by certain personal events that have taken place in the recent past," he wrote.
Binny added that these events relate to a claim of serious personal misconduct made against him, "which was uncorroborated after a thorough investigation completed by an independent law firm".
"The allegations left me stunned and I strongly deny them. 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.
Binny said these have been "challenging times" for him and his family, and in light of these circumstances, he felt it was best to step away as chairman and group CEO.
With inputs from agencies