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.”