May 28, 2013

Sex And The CEO

Sorry if that headline has been already used somewhere in the avalanche of articles on the matter.

This profile of Mr. Phaneesh Murthy is particularly good. He was clearly a crazy smart guy.
Sadly, the reactions in India have been so predictable — basically just 'follow the herd' of American Puritanical morality.
Europeans have moved on but sadly Indians are unable to move beyond aping Americans.
The reactions have been so crazily same in terms of vilifying Phaneesh Murthy that it's almost hilarious but this is a sad incident so hilarity is clearly not something which is called for here.
I mean, is THIS the only SOLUTION that we can think of !?!?
They had a relationship for a year or more, right?
They were ADULTS, is not it?

How long are we going to cling on to the linear narrative of the 'powerless female' *preyed upon* by a "predatory" boss as even the article seems to imply?
This is Fremont, California and not a B-class town in India. How old was she btw?
Do people want or expect corporate CEOs or other executives in their 30s, 40s, and 50s to be 'virile' like Manmohan Singh?
Frankly, I think the reactions of folks to this incident will reveal a lot about them.
The women might be uniformly against Phaneesh The Predator and I understand that. Indian women belonging to the professional working class anyhow have a crazily mixed up personality that combines both  a heritage of doing Karva Chauth and watching some Hollywood movies starring George Clooney or Brad Pitt and so on ...
The males' reactions will be more intriguing.
I presume most males will severely and unequivocally condemn Phaneesh ... there's clearly no harm in taking the side of the majority viewpoint.
Those who realize that "Wait a minute! This is not about 'sexual harassment' but a relationship gone wrong ... as human relationships often and usually go wrong" will probably keep quiet.
So.
Anyways, before 'critics' pile on me, here's how I would have preferred to see this pan out:
Since nobody got raped in a company closet or bathroom or executive dining room (let along 10 or 100 such incidents), once the relationship got 'out of hand' after the pregnancy as seems to have happened, a way should have been found to settle the matter between them!
That process could have involved iGate's lawyers, Phaneesh and the lady's lawyers, whatever ... some settlement should have been worked out.
Sure, this is the CEO. So, may be do things publicly because if you try to keep things private, then it may leak and then the damage may be more. Of course, as a side note, there SHOULD NOT ideally be damage from someone having sex with someone else.
And finally let the Board decide what punishment to mete out to the CEO. May be it would have been enough punishment for Phaneesh to have to make a multi-million dollar pay to the female employee out of his salary or stocks or some other settlement out of a myriad possible ways.
And then make all that public. Let him decide if he can continue in the company with that knowledge 'public.'
I mean, just look at the BOTTOM-LINE of this story:
"What? Oh, this guy had SEX with a female?? How sad, bad, and utterly mad! How can anyone have SEX with someone else? That too, a SUBORDINATE!"
Now, remember that, if you are the frigging CEO, most everyone in the company is a 'subordinate' to you. And being a workaholic CEO, you probably spend 14 hours at the office and the rest of the 10 hours, your mind is essentially filled with thoughts about 'issues' at the company.
It's not like you can go for a drink to the bar in the evening daily or visit the dating websites ...
Oh yes, yes, I can hear the howling —> "He was MARRIED!" Well, I do not consider that a factor. He was not DEAD yet.
So, to continue the 'BOTTOM-LINE' of this story:
"Therefore, let's fire, FIRE, FIRREEE him!! It's just a CEO! They're a dime a dozen! We'll find one more. After all, look at HP and the game of musical chairs that happened there before Meg Whitman. Look at the same thing at Yahoo before Marissa Mayer.
We must, MUST make it clear — in this company, we SHALL NOT TOLERATE *mere* humans indulging in *predatory* practices such as having sex! No Sirreee! You are NOT humans ... you are RESOURCES."
What a sorry state of affairs.
Anyways, I will stop here.
What I have said probably sounds 'sexist' or 'misogynistic' and worse to readers.

 It's as if you discover one fine day that 'Oops, there's a small dent in my car's side panel! Let me call that car wrecking company and they can come with their tank and run the tank over my car. Clearly, I MUST *desTROY* my car in its ENTIRETY!'

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