first_imgThe conviction of Indian American Rajat Gupta on charges of securities fraud has shocked India’s business elite, who are still struggling to come to terms with the downfall of one of their most celebrated members. Ironically, Gupta ‘s fall from grace was brought about by another Indian American, Preet Bharara, nicknamed the “Sherriff of Wall Street”, for leading a wave of insider trading probes over the last two-and-a-half years.”Having fallen from respected insider to convicted inside trader, Gupta has now exchanged the lofty board room for the prospect of a lowly jail cell,” as Bharara succintly summed it up after a federal court jury convicted Gupta on three counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy.In India, while many expressed feelings of sadness and shame, others admitted that the trial had damaged the international image of Indian commerce.”The devastating part of this is that Rajat was a hero and a role model to many of us, in terms of his success and his conduct,” says Jayant Sinha, managing director of Omidyar Network India Advisors, an investment group, and a former colleague of Gupta at McKinsey. “So to see this happen, it is just really heartbreaking.”During the trial many leading industrialists backed a public campaign supporting Gupta and casting doubt on the evidence against him, including Mukesh Ambani, the billionaire head of Reliance Industries and Adi Godrej, chairman of the Godrej Group.Ambani also published an open letter, in which he expressed admiration for Gupta’s philanthropic endeavours, which included a prominent role in setting up the Indian School of Business, an elite western-style management school founded in Hyderabad in 1999. “I respect Rajat for his selfless dedication and humility and he will always be a friend of mine,” he wrote.But while the tone of much of the reaction to the verdict has been marked by quiet regret others have been more critical, both of Gupta’s conduct and more broadly of the manner in which India’s business elite rallied to his defence.Gurcharan Das, an author of books on the Indian economy and former chief executive of the Indian operations of Procter & Gamble, said the saga suggested that Gupta, while associating with billionaires, aspired to become one of them.Born in Maniktala, Kolkata Dec 2, 1948 to a freedom fighter journalist Ashwini Kumar Gupta, Rajat became an orphan at the age of 18 as his parents died one after the other within two years.His upward journey began after he received a B.E. in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, in 1971 and chose to go to Harvard Business School, where he was named a Baker Scholar.Gupta joined McKinsey & Company in 1973 as one of the earliest Indian-Americans at the consultancy. Starting his career in New York, he moved to Scandinavia to become the head of McKinsey offices there in 1981. Elected senior partner in 1984, he became head of the Chicago office in 1990.In 1994, he was elected the firm’s first managing director born outside of the US, and re-elected twice in 1997 and 2000. In this capacity, Gupta was recognized as the first Indian-born CEO of a global corporation.After retiring from active practice, while maintaining an affiliation at McKinsey, Gupta served as corporate chairman, board director or strategic advisor to a variety of large and notable organizations.These included Goldman Sachs, Procter and Gamble and American Airlines, and non-profits including The Gates Foundation, The Global Fund and the International Chamber of Commerce.Rajat Gupta is additionally the co-founder of four different organizations — the Indian School of Business, the American India Foundation, New Silk Route and Scandent with various partners.With IANS inputsadvertisementlast_img

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