5 Fallen Idols of 2012
Image: Adrees Latif / Reuters
1. Rajat Gupta
The Kolkata born Gupta was one of the most respected global business icons coming out of India. A graduate of the prestigious Harvard Business School, Gupta had held key positions in Goldman Sachs and McKinsey. In March 2011, Gupta was accused of sharing confidential information with Raj Rajaratnam, head of a hedge fund. In October 2012, Gupta was sentenced to two years in jail for securities fraud. Gupta’s dramatic fall has not only saddened his numerous admirers but also sullied the image of the Indian business community.
2. Bob Diamond
US born former CEO of British bank Barclays Plc was among the ‘World’s 50 people who matter’ list of New Statesman in 2010. In 2011, he was on the Bloomberg Markets ‘50 Most Influential’ list. But Diamond, known for high-risk investments, was always a polarising figure. Lord Peter Mendelson, UK’s business secretary, called him the “unacceptable face of banking”, thanks to his high salary and arrogance. In 2012 nothing was left to doubt when Diamond was found to have been manipulating the Libor (London Inter-Bank Lending Rate), with a view to making profits and, at other times, making the bank look more secure during the financial crisis.
3. VK Singh
According to one set of army records, India’s recently retired army chief was born in 1950. The government used this to judge his seniority and promote him to the positions of vice chief and chief of army. However, once he became the chief, Singh took the national government to the Supreme Court, claiming 1951 as his birth year. If his claim was accepted, Singh would have got nine more months in office. But the military hero had to eat humble pie when the SC ruled against him.
4. David Howell Petraeus
An extra-marital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell cost the highly decorated American military commander his job as the head of the CIA. The affair, which started after Petraeus finished his military career late 2011, came out in the open when FBI investigated a series of emails Broadwell wrote threatening Jill Kelley, Petraeus’ close family friend. Petraeus had successfully led the US and multinational forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and there were rumours that he could even run for the US presidency at some stage.
5. Lance Armstrong
Armstrong beating testicular cancer and going on to win a record seven Tour de France cycling championships was the stuff of legends. Until earlier in 2012 when he was stripped of his titles, as he was found to have used performance enhancing drugs. Doping allegations had haunted Armstrong since 2004. The US Anti Doping Agency eventually nailed the case against Armstrong when it got former team mates to testify against him.