Flipkart cofounder Sachin Bansal was replaced as chief executive “because of performance,” expertly placating employees riled by recent downsizing while also making a case for the deliver-or-go culture that’s come to haunt internet companies.
Bansal, who was replaced as CEO by cofounder Binny Bansal in January and made executive chairman after eight years at the helm, defended the company’s decision to downsize saying it was done on merit, emphasizing that the management team, too, was not spared.
“Look at the top level around you. Everyone has changed. In fact, even I am gone,” Sachin Bansal said, according to the people present at the meeting, who declined to be identified. “Some of our targets have been missed and everyone, including the top management, has paid the price.”
“At Flipkart, we have an open and transparent culture. The town hall that we conduct regularly. It is one of the pillars of this culture of openness,While the performance management philosophy was part of the last town hall discussion, an overwhelming majority of the time was spent on discussing the great strides that Flipkart had made in its business performance,” said a Flipkart spokesman .
Binny Bansal and Nitin Seth were also present at the meeting held at Flipkart’s swanky 2 million-sq.ft. campus, Cessna Business Park.
About 200 employees had gathered for the evening meeting, a monthly event that allows employees to send questions anonymously and have the most-voted questions addressed by the top management.
The August 19 meeting was the first to be held after Flipkart recently asked 700-1,000 employees to either resign or be sent off with severance pay. Several consumer internet startups including Ola, Snapdeal and Grofers, too, have had to let go of employees with investors mounting pressure on them to cut costs and work towards profitability.
Flipkart statement -
Our performance metrics are freely shared to encourage a collaborative environment. Anybody is free to ask any question, challenge existing norms and hold the leadership accountable for business and organization metrics. We believe this leads to an environment of trust, openness and respect and is one of the building blocks for our organisation of the future. We are also probably the only large company in India to have this open and collaborative culture.
While the performance management philosophy was part of the last town hall discussion, an overwhelming majority of the time was spent on discussing the great strides that Flipkart had made in its business performance.