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Exclusive: Former Booz & Co exec Subbu Palaniappan to head Amazon Prime India

Subbu Palaniappan, head of Amazon Prime India

Subbu Palaniappan, head of Amazon
Prime India

E-commerce giant Amazon has appointed former Booz & Company executive Subbu Palaniappan as head of Indian operations of its subscription-based membership service Amazon Prime.

The development comes a month after Amazon announced that the membership programme will be available for Indian customers as well.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Palaniappan took over as head of Amazon Prime India in March. However, the company is yet to make a formal announcement in this regard.

E-mail queries sent to both Amazon India and Palaniappan remained unanswered at the time of filing this report.

A mechanical engineer who also holds an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Palaniappan previously served a six-year stint at global strategy consultant firm Booz & Co. Most recently, he counselled senior executives of MNCs on growth and cost strategies. Booz & Co was acquired by PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) in 2013 and eventually renamed as Strategy&.

A popular service in markets such as the US and the UK, Amazon Prime promises to deliver products to member customers within a day or two. In India, the service has been launched in over 100 cities. There is no limit to how many times a customer can avail of the Amazon Prime service.

In India, Amazon Prime service is offered at an introductory annual subscription fee of Rs 499, a discount of Rs 500 over the list price of Rs 999. As per the promotional offer, customers who sign up early can enjoy Amazon Prime free for 60 days. During festive sales, members also get early access to deals. Amazon Prime members in 20 cities can also choose same-day, morning or scheduled delivery at a discounted fee of Rs 50 per order on over 10,000 products.

In June this year, Amazon India appointed Arun Sirdeshmukh, co-founder of Fashionara.com, as head of its fashion department after the startup lifestyle portal shut operations recently.

After losing out to Alibaba in China, Amazon has made no bones about its intentions to do whatever it takes to capture a dominant share in the Indian e-commerce market and pip rivals Flipkart and Snapdeal. Amazon has been closing the gap with Flipkart and is already the second largest e-commerce portal after Flipkart.

In July, Amazon India announced that it will set up six more fulfilment centres in the country to ramp up its warehousing capacity. The new centres will come up in Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai.

In the same month, Amazon committed to invest $3 billion more in India, in addition to the $2 billion it had invested earlier.

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