NEW HUNTING GROUNDS – Punchy Ecomm Firms Turn FMCG into Naukri.gone

Tech startups poach top talent from consultancies and consumer goods cos
Growthhungry technology startups are raiding consultancies and consumer goods companies for strategy experts as they build a second tier of leaders to strengthen critical operations and scale faster.Consumer Internet companies, including Flipkart, Snapdeal and Paytm, this year have snatched key talent from McKinsey , Unilever and Pepsi for roles in non-tech functions such as finance, marketing, supply chain and business development. On Thursday , Snapdeal announced it had hired Amit Choudhary from Procter & Gamble as senior V-P-finance.In his previous job, Choudhary headed P&G’s Asia pet care business across 14 countries.

These included Japan, Greater China and Australia. The technology firms, among India’s largest digital marketplaces, are perched at crucial growth junctures and urgently need experts with extensive experience in strategy-making to advance their businesses. As bait, they are primarily dangling opportunities to build things afresh, something not always possible in structured corporate environments.

Consultancies such as McKinsey, in particular, have turned out to be lucrative hunting grounds for ecommerce companies, given their need for leaders who have worked across industries and functions and can seamlessly transition between multiple roles. Flipkart in March hired former McKinsey director Saikiran Krishnamurthy as chief operating officer of its commerce division. Paytm poached Nehul Malhotra, who in his new role is responsible for onboarding merchants as the digital payments firm makes a big push into mobile commerce.

“This is a new world and we won’t always find people with similar experiences. Instead, we have to find people who have or can build the right skill sets,“ said Amit Sinha, head of human resources at Paytm. “The people we’re trying to bring on board are the smartest ones around and they won’t take much time to learn.“

Paytm wants to have 1 lakh sellers on its platform by the end of this year, up from 40,000 now.That’s not an easy task considering Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal too are chasing thousands of small entrepreneurs to sell on their marketplaces.

Supply chain, product management

Areas such as supply chain, product management and relation .ships, and new business initiatives are seeing the maximum people movement, said GC Jayaprakash, executive director at RGF Executive Search. Snapdeal poached its new senior vice president-finance Vivek Patankar from Unilever’s London office, where he headed financial plan ( ning and analytics for the consumer-goods company’s entire global business of 50 billion euros ( `. 3.5 lakh crore).

It also hired Idi Srinivas Murthy as senior vice president-marketing from pharmaceutical multinational GlaxoSmithKline, where he was regional director, marketing in Africa spearheading portfolio expansion, innovation, and consumer and medical marketing across 44 countries.

“It’s no longer about new technology… In five years everything in India will be electronically assisted. A lot of us had been eyeing this space with a high degree of interest,“ said Murthy. “We need to think about what our company will look like in 3-5 years, and for that we need a team in place now.“

McKinsey and Bharti Airtel did not reply to emails from ET. Hindustan Unilever said that while its attrition rate is below the industry level, the company keeps its key talent engaged through “bigger, more stretched jobs and challenging opportunities.“

For executives from consumergoods companies, in addition to stock options, consumer Internet companies offer salary increases of up to 40-50%, said Anuj Roy, partner, digital practice at executive search firm Transearch.

For those from consulting firms, the main deal is equity, which can be as high as three-four times the annual compensation.

The bigger draw ing card, Roy said, is the opportunity to build something new and make a large visible im pact with a sense of ownership. “New ideas, fastpaced growth and flexibility to carve out roles has helped companies to attract individuals from consumer and consulting firms,“ he said.

Flipkart, Snapdeal and Paytm in recent months deepened their employee stock option pools to make senior hires. In February, Snapdeal, which is valued at about $5 billion (nearly Rs . 32,000 crore), decided to make ` 10% of its overall share capital available for employee stock options. Flipkart, currently valued at above $11 billion, recently increased its ESOP pool to 7% of its share capital.

“Compensation levels can be around ` . 1.5-2.5 crore upwards (not including ESOPs) in case of very large companies like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon. In Amazon, this would be paid at a director level; at Flipkart or Snapdeal, at a VP-SVP level,“ said an executive at a search firm.“Even in mid-sized companies, pay packages of around ` . 1 crore are quite common.“

Source: The Economic Times

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