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SoftBank Appoints Kabir Mishra To Snapdeal Board

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank has appointed its most experienced e-commerce veteran Kabir Mishra to the Board of e-commerce firm Snapdeal to support the company.

"SoftBank has appointed its most experienced e-commerce veteran Kabir Mishra to the board of Snapdeal to support the company," a source privy to the development told PTI.

This decision comes as the SoftBank-backed online merchant Snapdeal aims to hit profitability in the next two years as it undertakes a number of steps, including layoffs and moving away from non-core activities. The company had laid off 500-600 employees across verticals even as Co-Founder Kunal Bahl admitted to making "mistakes” in growing much before it could figure out the right economic model.

Kabir has for many years been closely involved in managing SoftBank's investment in Alibaba in China, the source said. Kabir has also played an anchor role in managing Softbank's investment in Indonesian e-commerce major Tokopedia and had extensive involvement in South Korean firm Coupang, where SoftBank invested $1 billion in June 2015, the source added.

Snapdeal, earlier this month, had announced shutting down of its consumer to consumer marketplace Shopo. As part of the revival plan, the company will reorganise into "a lean, focussed and entrepreneurial one" by combining teams, reducing layers, eliminating non-core projects and strengthening focus on profitable growth.

"Sadly, we will also be saying really painful goodbyes to some of our colleagues in this process," Bahl wrote, in an email shot off to his employees, without giving the actual number of layoffs.

Snapdeal, which faces intense competition from Amazon and Flipkart, had last reported an employee strength of 8,000. Bahl and Rohit Bansal also had announced that they will take a 100 percent salary cut, and also said many senior leaders had "offered to take a significant cut in their compensation."

The e-commerce firm on Monday announced the appointment of Jason Kothari as the chief executive officer of its digital payment platform FreeCharge and a commitment to invest an additional $20 million in the e-wallet firm.

Mishra will be director of the advisory board with six other members.