Anil Thakraney: Dirty corporate politics

28 Oct,2012

By Anil Thakraney


We will never really know the exact reason behind CEO Vikram Pandit’s abrupt departure from Citigroup. And that’s because there are always two sides to a story. Most of the media reports, however, indicate that Pandit was a victim of organizational politics, that it was unholy play by his boss that led to Pandit’s sacking. And this, despite the officer’s good performance. Apparently, Citigroup’s Chairman, Michael O’Neill, had been planning Pandit’s exit for a very long time.


If indeed that is the case, Pandit becomes just another name in a very long list of senior execs who were shown the door as a direct result of dirty office politics and back-stabbing. Unfortunately, this happens quite commonly in organizations, so you can imagine how many bright minds have fallen by the wayside because they couldn’t play the game, or chose not to participate in it.


I must add here that the No 1 reason I preferred to be a freelance operator was to escape the clutches of politics. I make less money than I would in a full-time job, I get no annual/sick/casual leave, and I have long forgotten what ‘Perks’ means (I am now convinced it’s just a chocolate brand). In addition, I often have to chase payments harder than I chase stories. And yet, I am at complete peace, all the negatives get nullified because I no longer have to put up with shitty corporate power games.


Popular belief is that some amount of politics does get played in all organizations, that it’s an inevitable fact of life. Everyone wants to get ahead fast, everyone wants to retain control, so messing with another group/individual becomes par for the course. This may be true. And yet, I do believe this is a cultural issue. If the man/woman at the top encourages a culture of ethics, mutual respect and integrity, and comes down heavily on back-stabbers, it is possible to build a clean organization. In fact, I am certain there must be many such across the world. That’s why I believe it’s purely a matter of good leadership. And am afraid, if the media reports are accurate, Citigroup has projected a very sad image of itself.


Surely there’s more happiness in achieving goals on one’s own merit, and not by trampling on others? Or am I living in fool’s paradise?




PS: Haha. I like this ad. Not just because it features the international Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney, but also because the ad is a totally surprising solution coming from a bank. Guess it will take our desi banks like Vijaya Bank and Shamrao Vithal Bank a zillion years to discover such a ‘treasure’. 🙂


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2 responses to “Anil Thakraney: Dirty corporate politics”

  1. Norman says:

    This happens in each and every organisation and not necessarily at the top level. Have experienced this personally and like you branched off on my own way back in 1986…

  2. amar says:

    i agree with u.. politics is particularly cutthroat in m edia organisations…..many of the so calledmedia celebrities have trampled on other less flashy colleagues in their quest for personal fame. or have made life miserable for those who make them feel editor is know to travel with his harem of ch amchas from organisation to organisation and if u dont fit in, u r bad mouthed. many run donw their colleagues with their employers spoiling their chances of promotion.