Binny Bansal, who stepped down from his post as Flipkart CEO after facing allegations of sexual misconduct, had co-founded the e-commerce company with his Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi batchmate Sachin Bansal a decade ago. Sachin Bansal, who was group chairman, was eased out of the company following its $16-billion acquisition by US retail behemoth Walmart in May.
It is not yet clear what the nature of the allegation is, but news agency Reuters says the Bansal’s resignation stemmed from an allegation of sexual assault that dates back a few years.
Sachin and Binny Bansal – who are not related – founded Flipkart as an online bookstore in 2007. Interestingly, Sachin and Binny have many things in common — both hail from Chandigarh, studied at IIT-Delhi, graduated in 2005, worked at Amazon, and started Flipkart.
A computer science student, Binny began his career with Sarnoff Technologies, a pioneer in computer vision, in 2005 and worked there for one-and-a-half years. Binny was interviewed twice for a position at Google but was unsuccessful. In 2007, he joined Amazon, where he met Sachin Bansal.
“(After Google) Next best option was Amazon, and within two months I was bored. The work was boring, and I was doing much more interesting stuff at Sarnoff. That’s when I thought why not start something?” Binny had said at an interview. That’s when the idea of Flipkart came to his mind.
Initially, Sachin and Binny wanted to start a shopping comparison engine but eventually decided to start a shopping website because of a dearth of good online retail platforms at the time in India. The co-founders started Flipkart with their savings of Rs 7-8 lakh and worked out of an apartment in Koramangala. “Initially when we started, we had to be very frugal. Our monthly operating cost was Rs 15,000-20,000,” Binny had said.
Their first order was for a book called ‘Leaving Microsoft to Change The World’. Binny served as the chief operating officer of Flipkart until January 2016 and was then promoted as the chief executive officer (CEO), where he oversaw strategic development, direction and business management In January 2017, he was made the Flipkart group CEO.
In May 2018, Walmart acquired a 77 per cent stake in the Flipkart group. After the acquisition, Bansal assumed the role of chairman and continued as Group CEO.