The Green Cover

Like black & white It’s not easy even being green for Dean Nohria

Nitin Nohria is the part owner of SKIL Infrastructure in India. The company is controlled by Nohria’s colleague, Nikhil Gandhi. Harvard Not for Sale has discovered that SKIL infrastructure was set up by Nohria and Gandhi as the project for the Positra Port in the state of Gujarat in India. The project was rejected by the environment ministry of India because Nohria’s company’s proposal would have devastated the fragile marine eco-system in the area. The capitalist and very ungreen-friendly proposal would have been an embarrassment had it been proposed in the US but Nohria continues to show little regard to ethics and the environment in general but especially in that part of the world. 

In fact, this pattern seems to shed light on how Nohria views the world. He clearly doesn’t seem to practice what he proposes to believe in that part of the world. He seems to think he can do what he wants for monetary gain without consequences. He almost acts like a god and seems to think the rest of the world will never know. All of the insider trading charges, corporate coups, abuse of power etc. He feels like he can get away with it there. What happens in India stays in India. No more. 

You see, the company he works for and has been bought by, Tata Group, is the largest and most respected company in India. Nohria -because of his close relationship with ex-chairman Ratan Tata who gave him the powerful position on the board after he made him Dean at Harvard by giving the largest international donation in the history of HBS - is viewed as the most powerful man at Tata as was shown when he ousted the new Chairman a year ago.

He also is the head of HBS in the US. Harvard is viewed as the top academic institution in the world in India. The two powerful positions in conflicting but powerful worlds seem to make him feel and certainly behave so. His omnipotent and reckless behavior mirrors this fact.  He speaks of green friendly business as a good strategy at Harvard but does not stand behind it when it comes to making money in India.

What is especially sad in this particular case is the standards of protecting fragile ecosystems in South Asia are even lower than in the US. One would think he would be seeking to elevate standards in the developing world rather than bring them down and manipulating them for his own gain.

Friends we love our greens and we will not sell Harvard for $Greens$.