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Rajat Gupta struggles to restore his reputation: report

LiveMint logoLiveMint 16-08-2017 Yoshita Singh

New York: India-born former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta has been trying to restore his reputation and rebuild his fortune after the completion of his two-year prison term on insider trading charges but has struggled to reconnect with several of his former associates, according to a media report.

The New York Times report said that while Gupta has “struggled to reconnect” with many former associates and clients in the United States, his ties to India’s business community and its diaspora of executives in the US have proved more durable. “Gupta, the former global head of consulting giant McKinsey & Company, became a pariah among many of the corporate chieftains who once craved his counsel.

Now 68, he has been trying to restore his reputation and rebuild his fortune since being released from a federal prison medical center in Devens, (Massachusetts),” the report said. The Times report cited the incident of a dinner hosted by Ajit Jain, the top executive at Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, in June last year to welcome back Gupta. The dinner took place in New York state just months after Gupta completed his two-year prison sentence on insider trading charges.

He was convicted in 2012 after a jury trial for passing confidential boardroom information to the now jailed hedge fund manager and his one time friend and business associate Raj Rajaratnam. While the dinner was attended by many who had known Gupta for years, there were “notable absences”, the report said. “Indra K Nooyi, the chief executive of PepsiCo, was invited but declined to attend.

So too did Dinesh Paliwal, the head of Harman International,” the report said, adding that Jain’s cousin and former co-chief executive of Deutsche Bank Anshu Jain also “passed on the evening”. However, to those invited, Gupta’s presence at a dinner given by an executive of Jain’s stature was a sign that he was to be embraced by the pantheon of Indian business leaders in the United States, the report said.

Describing the struggles Gupta is facing to return to a life of normalcy, the report said, while at one time he was a sought-after board member, now he “cannot get his former firm McKinsey, which he led for nine years, to even acknowledge him”. It said that a few months ago, a former colleague of Gupta’s at McKinsey, pushed to have him invited to a triennial meeting in Boston in June of the firm’s retired and former senior partners. “Gupta wasn’t invited.

Gupta also failed in his effort to be reinstated in the McKinsey alumni directory. When criminal charges were first filed against the McKinsey senior partner Anil Kumar and later against Gupta, McKinsey moved to remove both names from the register,” it said. Gupta has been “rankled” by the rebuffs by McKinsey, the report quoted his friends as saying.

“He is upset that the firm at which he spent almost his entire career won’t even acknowledge him as an alumnus — a fact that his incarceration has not altered,” the report said. Earlier this year, Gupta had addressed the Young Indians national annual summit meeting in New Delhi, hosted by industry body Confederation of Indian Industry. PTI

During his speech, Gupta had blamed his legal troubles on being “fundamentally trusting of everybody”.

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