Flipkart ropes in ex Unilever exec Sudhir Sitapati on board

Home-grown ecommerce gaint Flipkart has roped in a top Unilever executive Sudhir Sitapati as the first of a four member advisory board for its commerce platform being created to help manage and direct fast-paced growth at the seven year-old company.
Flipkart ropes in ex Unilever exec on board
Home-grown ecommerce gaint Flipkart has roped in a top Unilever executive Sudhir Sitapati as the first of a four member advisory board for its commerce platform being created to help manage and direct fast-paced growth at the seven year-old company.
Sitapati, a vice-president who oversees the tea, coffee and ice-cream categories across south Asia and Africa for Unilever, has been sought out for his proven acumen in marketing and will act as a mentor and coach for Flipkart's marketing team.
"We are thinking very deeply about our brand and are taking a more emotion-led approach for the brand," said Mukesh Bansal, the head of commerce at Flipkart who briefed ET on the development.
More advisors will be roped in with specific skills in areas like leadership strategy, technology and operations as Flipkart fights aggressive rivals in India's hyper-competitive online retail industry.
Only one of the four people have been identified so far according to Bansal who said the rest will be picked over the coming year.
The move will help the Bengaluru company seek out strategic advice from experts in an informal manner. Sitapati, a graduate of the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad will remain at Unilever, even as he serves as an advisor to Flipkart.
This structure is deemed as more flexible compared to that of a formal board of directors. Experts are of the view that for an online retail company like Flipkart which has to "worry about" profits, specialists who can help devise strategies towards this goal are valuable.
"They (Flipkart) need people who have managed scale and distribution even in the smaller towns and cities, only then will economies of scale play in and costs will go down," said S Raghunath, a professor of corporate strategy and policy at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.
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