It was heart warming to see Mark Zuckerberg, the Founder CEO of Facebook, the leading global social media platform, appear before the Senate in the USA and directly and unconditionally own up responsibility for the serious data breach lapses of Facebook. He was courageously direct, when he said that he was the one responsible for the lapses. He did not resort to pseudo ploys of saying that the lapses are a collective responsibility of the Board of Directors of Facebook and neither did he marshall support of his Board, such as to dilute his responsibility. His apology was sincere and his acceptance of failure was direct. He showed his openness to scrutiny and supervision by external agencies and pleaded that he be not sacked, since he was best placed to rectify the ills of Facebook. In yet another instance of owning up responsibility and willingness to abdicate, in the interest of the company, Sir Martin Sorell, the founder of the global ad giant WPP Worldwide, which he built into a behemoth with 200,000 employees, operating in 114 countries, (from a two man firm that he started as), resigned to facilitate investigation of charges of financial misconduct against him, which he flatly denies. He was verily WPP, but yet resigned, in the larger interests of the company that he founded. There are umpteen cases of corporate leaders resigning, to uphold exemplary standards of corporate scruples and scrutiny. These include Meg Whitman who quit HP, Marissa Mayer who left Yahoo, Steve Ells who quit from Chipotle the popular restaurant chain that he founded and Kwan Oh-Hyun, the CEO of Samsung Electronics, who quit saying that it was time to leave, since the company needed to groom a new leader and a new spirit.
Such corporate leaders, who make role models are missing in India, as they seek to perpetrate their fiefdom and obstinately dig in their heels, even if found to have indulged in grave misconduct/misdemeanour. Corporate India lacks those precedents where a CEO who is found to have blundered or erred, resigns quietly, rather than being sacked or being forced to resign because their conduct was too atrocious to be pardoned. The Indian CEOs are quick to receive bouquets, but deftly deflect brick bats, notwithstanding the fact that not only does the company suffer in the process, but that they also lower the standards of ethics and good conduct in corporate public life. The Chanda Kochhar case of ICICI Bank falls in this category. If she were the CEO of a Western Bank, and she had refused to quit on her own after such misdemeanour, she would have been unceremoniously sacked. It is time for Indian corporate leaders to rise above their narrow individual interests and set exemplary standards for the management of those very institutions that made them what they are. ')}