25 November, 2020

Just A Head To Roll?

Is Rajat Gupta all bad? Friends and ex-colleagues are divided on the former McKinsey boss.

Illustration by Sandeep Adhwaryu
Just A Head To Roll?

Even if you have devoured every word written on Rajat Gupta in the last few months, one question never quite goes away: Why did a man who spent a lifetime building up a reputation for unshakeable integrity throw it away so recklessly, by passing on boardroom secrets to a hedge fund billionaire?

But though I try to ask it every which way, I can’t get his former McKinsey colleague and good friend Pramath Raj Sinha to answer it. The closest we come to discussing Gupta’s thought processes is when he says, sombrely: “When he left McKinsey in 2007, Rajat wanted to retire, spend more time with his family, and spend more time in India. He asked me to find him a yoga teacher and a Sanskrit teacher. But ten people wanted a piece of him, there were multiple offers from company boards and entrepreneurs. It’s tragic, had he truly been able to retire, this wouldn’t have happened.”

The points Sinha does want to make, over two long conversations, are: yes, Gupta did make “a big mistake”, but...



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