INSTITUTIONAL EYE Boards must censure the CEO's for personal misconduct 20 Jan, 2023

“The urinator” in a recent flight of an Indian airline was summarily sacked by his employer, a global bank. The employer claimed that it held employees to the highest standards of professional and personal behaviour and that it found these allegations deeply disturbing. These decisions are not easy, but are not as difficult when it comes to mid-level employees. Setting examples is necessary. But what happens when the individual is not merely an employee, but a member of the board or the controlling shareholders’ family? The decision, it appears, becomes that much more difficult.

The Executive Chairperson and founder of an Indian listed start-up hit the car of the District Commissioner of Police in South Delhi and drove off without stopping. Another CEO of a listed diversified company (with the largest business being coffee and tea plantations) was caught at international customs carrying cannabis, which was purportedly for recreational use.

Another start-up CEO was recorded using profanity and aggression while speaking to his bank’s relationship manager. While this caught the public eye, the CEO continued to star in a television show and continued to berate struggling entrepreneurs. Videos of his employees partying in office soon surfaced raising a few eyebrows. This gregarious behaviour is often linked to new-age tech start-ups in India – and is considered par for course, even now.

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