Late in the evening on Jan. 09, Flipkart sprung a surprise by naming Kalyan Krishnamurthy as its CEO. A former top executive at Flipkart’s largest shareholder, Tiger Global, Krishnamurthy joined the Bengaluru-based company just eight months ago.
This move makes Flipkart the only one among the eight Indian unicorns to have a non-founder CEO. Most of the country’s prominent technology startups continue to be headed by founders even as they grapple with slowing growth.
“This move will create a precedent for others to follow,” said Yugal Joshi, practice director at Texas-based management consulting firm Everest Group. “So far, people used to say that such things (replacing founders with external CEOs) do not happen in India. Now, one of the most prominent companies has a non-founder as its CEO, which means others have an example to follow.”