Harvard Condoning Insider Trading?
Harvard condoning Insider Trading? Have you heard?
An Indian Securities Regulator passed an order in 2016, indicting the Promoters of a large Indian corporate, of violating Insider Trading rules vis-à-vis a multi-billion dollar sale of its healthcare division. Ironically, Harvard’s celebrated “professor of ethics”, Nitin Nohria was involved intimately in this deal. Today, he is discussed to be a top contender for leading Harvard University.
"Nitin Nohria took Anand Piramal directly under his tutelage. and serves as a member of Piramal Realty's advisory board. "
During our in-depth research on each of the potential candidates for President, we unearthed conduct which clearly debars Dr. Nohria from the post of President of Harvard and maybe even from his current position as Dean of HBS. His complicity in these actions and a culture of cronyism built around the Harvard Business School Dean's office threaten to destroy the very bedrock of Harvard.
Mr. Ajay Piramal and his spouse, Ms. Swati Piraml, the Promoters of Primal Enterprises were convicted of violations of insider trading rules in 2016 by Securities Exchange Board of India (equivalent of the SEC in the US) in a US $3.7 billion deal with Abbott. This is where the dots start merging.
Harvard Business School Dean Prof. Nitin Nohria was in the know how of the deal. In fact, he was the only non-family member consultant along with 5 Board Members of the Piramal family business, who was involved in every stage of the deal.
It's easy to see that Harvard Business School Dean Prof. Nitin Nohria was in the know of the deal, but the story doesn't stop here.
The beneficiary of the unpublished price sensitive information (UPSI) was Mr. Anand Piramal, who is a mentee of Prof. Nohria. If you look at this web from any angle, Prof Nohria emerges as a central piece. Currently, Prof. Nohria serves as a Management Advisor to the Piramal family business. Mr. Piramal in turn serves on Harvard Business School’s Dean’s Advisory Committee and Ms. Swati Piramal serves as a Member of Board of Overseers at Harvard. Is this a mere fortuitous coincidence or is there a deeper quid pro quo?
Several questions emerge in this sordid saga? Can Dr. Nohria claim that he knew nothing of the lax controls of corporate governance in Piramal Enterprises that allowed for such lapses to occur? Or did he just close his eyes to the ongoing due to his pecuniary and beneficial relationship with the Piramal Group. Unfortunately, in India while the case was settled with a penalty one shudders to think of the reputational damage to Harvard, should such an event have happened in our country, which is known for sending even high profile executives like Rajat Gupta to prison.
Dr. Nohria conduct besides being a serious conflict of interest, also goes against the vary grain of Harvard's motto and values. Prof Nohria has to come clean on this issue before he even thinks of staking a claim to the Harvard Chair.
Do we at Harvard, risk all that our university has stood for by appointing such a man as the President of Harvard University? As the saying goes. “Caesars wife must be above suspicion”. The Office of the President of Harvard University must only be held by someone with impeachable credentials.