Monday , June 14 2021

Binny Bansal's Feliksart said he resigned after sexual harassment

Walpkart's chief executive, Walmkart, has resigned following an internal review of allegations of "personal misconduct".

Allegations of misconduct followed accusations of sexual assault, two people familiar with the subject said.

The departure of Benny Bansal, 37, one of the founders of Pelikart, based in Bangalore, could be an obstacle to Walmart's efforts to compete with Amazon in India's huge consumer market. A billionaire familiar with technology, Bensal took up his position as CEO of FlipCart in 2016. He became chairman and CEO of the e-commerce group this year.

Walmart paid $ 16 billion for 77 percent of its shares in Fleecart in May. The investment is the largest retail acquisition in the US and has been a major step in its efforts to compete against Amazon's growing market share at home and abroad.

Walmart has announced that it will acquire the holdings in Fleecart in May and will end the deal in August. In a statement sent to employees of Fleippart, which was seen by Reuters, Bensal said the recent events had led him to resign as chairman and chief executive officer. He said the incidents referred to an allegation of misconduct against him, "which was not confirmed after a thorough investigation completed by an independent law firm."

Bensal did not elaborate on the nature of the suit. "The charges left me stunned and I strongly deny," he wrote.

"The investigation, on the other hand, led to light meetings in judgment, mainly lack of transparency, on how I reacted to the situation," he said, without elaborating.

Neither Ansal nor his representatives responded to requests for comment. Fleippart did not respond to requests for comment.

A man in the United States who knew Walmart's investigation said a "sexual assault lawsuit against me" came to his attention in late July. The accusation dates back a few years earlier and was made by a former friend of Flippert, who was not with Fleckart at the time, the man added.

Walmart said in the case that he conducted an inquiry into her own allegations, without saying what the charges were.

"Although the investigation found no evidence to corroborate the complainant's claims against me, it revealed other failures in judgment, mainly lack of transparency, in the manner in which I reacted to the situation." Said Walmart. "That's why we accepted his decision to resign." Anyone familiar with Walmart said that Nestle had hired two private security companies at the end of 2016, "to turn the matter into a subject," referring to the claim. The man did not disclose the names of the security personnel or the parties involved, and Reuters was unable to confirm them.

"Livni had an opportunity to expose these accusations to us when we were in talks (investing in FlipCart) … but he did not," the man said.

Forced transition
Bransel is one of the most well-known entrepreneurs in India after he started Flifkart in 2007 with Satchin Bensal. The duo, who hail from the same city, but are not related, was created in Fleecart shortly after retirement from Amazon.

Originally an online bookstore run from a two-bedroom apartment in India's Bangalore Technology Center, Flipecart grew up in the next decade to become India's most important technology start-up. Its units include Flipkart, which sells general merchandise, clothing retailer and accessories Myntra, Portal Portal of Avong and PayPe. Walmart said it may make Flipkart's initial public offering in public within the next four years.

A separate source directly on the subject in India, which did not want to be there, said Bensal is still a shareholder in FlipCart and has expressed no desire to sell his holdings. Walmart did not offer to buy it, the source added.

Walmart said that Nassal had considered the transition for a while, and that the companies had worked together on a succession plan, which was now accelerated. In his tone to Fleippart's employees, Binny Bensal said he recently thought he might continue as CEO of "a few more quarters."

Kalyan Krishnamurthy, who heads Flipkart's main e-commerce operation company, was now serving as CEO for a broader group of businesses, including apparel sites Myntra and Jabong, said Walmart

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

The #MeToo social media against sexual harassment that began in the United States over a year ago has gained momentum in India in recent weeks.

Walmart's shares traded 1.15 percent at $ 102.68 (about 7,400 rs) per share in afternoon trade.

© Thomson Reuters 2018

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