Shape up or ship out: Snapdeal sends out signal to staff

At a Snapdeal town hall meeting about two weeks ago, a young data cruncher nervously asked co-founder and chief executive officer Kunal Bahl about job security in the company. Bahl’s reply was straight enough: Those who do not perform will have to leave.

GROWTH PANGS
In Feb, 200 staff of Snapdeal were put on notice due to performance issues
A majority of them have left
There’s been a churn at the executive level, too
Snapdeal has seen “willing and unwilling departure of a large number of people” in four months, say sources
However, the firm said there had been no lay-offs

Snapdeal is walking Bahl’s talk. According to sources, Snapdeal has seen “willing and unwilling departure of a large number of people” in the previous four months, particularly in its technology, logistics, supply chain and internal order management teams. Some functions have been outsourced or are being outsourced and, so the requirement of people has also come down, they said.

In an e-mail reply, the company said there had been no lay-offs at Snapdeal or Freecharge, the mobile wallet arm of the company. “… and none are intended. Any speculation in this regard is baseless and completely untrue. Our campus in Gurgaon and regional offices in eight cities are staffed by highly experienced teams, who continue to drive excellence and growth in our business. We continue to hire across levels and functions as per our talent requirements,” it said.

In February, 200 employees of Snapdeal were put on notice due to performance issues, and a majority have left the company. There’s been a churn at the executive level, too. In May, Anand Chandrasekaran quit as chief product officer, less than a year of joining. Chandrasekaran was technically the third in command. Among others, Srinivas Murthy, senior vice-president of marketing, left to start his own venture. Before that, Ranjan Kant, head of strategy, quit to join Jabong as chief marketplace officer.

Snapdeal did not reply to a query on staff strength. Earlier this year in an interview to Business Standard, co-founder and chief operating officer Rohit Bansal had put the figure at 8,000. Following rationalisation of workforce, the estimated number is around 6,000.

The founders are learnt to have given strict instructions on performance to heads of various divisions and have set target dates. For instance, Exclusively.com, the high-street fashion brand of the company, has until September to increase sales, sources said.

Snapdeal’s principal investor is SoftBank. In a recent interview to another newspaper, Nikesh Arora, now the former president & operating head of the SoftBank group, had said Snapdeal has to compete with Amazon and Flipkart for a while and it would be a tough battle. Many of the big SoftBank investments led by Arora have been under investor scrutiny.

But, last month, a day before he announced he was stepping down, Arora had received a clean chit from a committee set up to review allegations related to some of the investments made.

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Shape up or ship out: Snapdeal sends out signal to staff

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