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商业 - 金融

为何古普塔丑闻不会伤及麦肯锡

Duff McDonald 2011年10月31日

针对高盛集团前董事、麦肯锡公司前常务董事的内幕交易指控让这两家传奇公司的声誉成为世人瞩目的焦点。但麦肯锡及其客户们已经忘掉过去,继续前行了。

    华尔街的游街活动在继续。上周三上午,咨询巨头麦肯锡公司(McKinsey & Company)前董事总经理、62岁的拉雅•古普塔向联邦调查局(FBI)自首。他将面临内幕交易指控。具体地说,联邦调查局指控古普塔在担任高盛集团(Goldman Sachs)董事期间向前对冲基金经理人拉吉•拉贾拉特南非法传递内幕信息。后者已于本月初被判处11年监禁。

    也是周三,美国纽约南区检察官普利特•巴拉拉宣布了6项针对这位前咨询业明星的指控,而证券交易委员会(SEC)则重启了一桩此前已撤销的民事诉讼案。针对古普塔的这些指控意味着世界上两大卓有影响的机构——麦肯锡公司和高盛集团——即将遭遇又一轮谴责浪潮。

    传媒界的反银行阵营一直在关注高盛集团在此案中扮演的角色,希望这则消息能够抹黑这家华尔街巨头的形象。对不起,大伙,但这种情况不可能出现。作为一位非执行董事,古普塔仅仅是高盛集团的一位外部顾问而已。他涉嫌向其斯里兰卡朋友拉贾拉特南出售公司机密一事根本不能说明高盛银行家的任何问题,顶多表明他们为高盛董事会挑错了人。

    此外,麦肯锡“遭殃”也令一些人有点幸灾乐祸。如果说高盛集团带着一股充满铜臭的嚣张气焰,麦肯锡公司则让人感到一种智识的傲慢——后者引发粗俗反应的能力跟前者不分伯仲。麦肯锡公司的手下败将、抑或其著名的裁员建议的受害者正在兴高采烈地揣度这则丑闻将给这家富有传奇色彩的咨询公司带来怎样的影响。

    简而言之: 影响了了。过去一年和今年前半年,我一直在为关于麦肯锡的新书【我这本书将于2013年春天由西蒙舒斯特公司(Simon & Schuster)出版】做调研工作。在此期间,就古普塔丑闻一事,我采访了麦肯锡公司数十位现任及前任咨询师。他们感到羞愧,那是一定的。但他们最重要的资产,即客户,却对此事表示理解。公司生意并未受到任何影响。

    实际上,麦肯锡对客户心理的掌控力之强让人费解。去年初,咨询师阿尼尔•库马尔(古普塔的一位助手)承认他曾把麦肯锡公司的客户资料出售给拉贾拉特南,你或许会认为该公司将因此损失大批客户。但事实并非如此。许多信息被库马尔卖掉的公司现在依然是麦肯锡的客户。

    在一次谈话中,一位曾任职于麦肯锡、现在华尔街一家大机构担任高管的人士对我说,古普塔丑闻对麦肯锡最大的冲击在于该公司自身的精神层面。他说得对——很少有公司像麦肯锡那样,跟员工自身形象如此紧密地交织在一起。这位前领导人极有可能摈弃了一切为麦肯锡咨询师所珍视的价值理念,这一事实已经促使公司内部进行自我反省。但随便问一位客户的CEO,他很可能会告诉你:每位CEO晚上睡觉的时候都在担心公司内部出现害群之马——不管它指的是一位流氓交易员,还是一位流氓咨询师。但只要它仅仅是一个流氓,而非系统性的文化问题,其造成的反应极有可能是怜悯,而非愤怒。

    The perp walks continue. This morning, 62-year old Rajat Gupta, the former managing director of consulting powerhouse McKinsey & Company, turned himself into the FBI to face insider trading charges. Specifically, the feds allege that Gupta, in his role as a board member of Goldman Sachs, illegally passed on inside information to Raj Rajaratnam, a former hedge fund manager who was sentenced to 11 years in prison earlier this month.

    Also this morning, Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced a six-count indictment against the former consulting luminary, while the SEC reinstituted a civil case it had previously dropped. The charges against Gupta mean that the reputations of two of the most influential firms in the world—McKinsey and Goldman Sachs—are up for another of their periodic rakings over the coals.

    The anti-banking contingent of the media has focused on the "involvement" of Goldman Sachs (GS) in this case, with the hope that somehow this news tarnishes the Wall Street titan. Sorry folks, but that's unlikely. As a non-executive board member, Gupta was nothing but an outside advisor to Goldman, and his possibly having sold their secrets to his Sri Lankan pal Rajaratnam says nothing whatsoever about the bankers, except that they clearly picked the wrong man for their board.

    Then there are those enjoying a little schadenfreude at McKinsey's expense. If Goldman reeks of moneyed arrogance, McKinsey reeks of intellectual arrogance—the latter capable of producing just as visceral a response as the former. Those who have competed unsuccessfully against McKinsey or perhaps been a victim of its well-known downsizing advice have been licking their chops at just what this means for the fabled consultancy itself.

    Short answer: Not much. While researching my upcoming book on McKinsey—to be published by Simon & Schuster in spring 2013—I have spoken to several dozen of the firm's current and former consultants over the past year-and-a-half about the whole Gupta mess. They're mortified, to be sure. But their most valuable asset—their client list—has been sympathetic. Business hasn't suffered at all.

    McKinsey's psychological hold on its clients actually beggars belief. When consultant Anil Kumar—a Gupta protégé—pled guilty to actually selling McKinsey client information to Rajaratnam early last year, you might have expected the firm to lose a significant swath of their clientele. Not so. The firm still counts as clients a number of companies whose information Kumar was selling.

    In a conversation I had with a McKinsey alum who is now a high-level executive at one of Wall Street's largest players, he suggested that the biggest fallout vis-à-vis McKinsey from the Gupta debacle would be to the firm's own psyche. And he's right—there are few firms that become as intertwined with their employees' self-image as McKinsey, and the fact that one of its former leaders has quite possibly repudiated every important value a McKinsey consultant holds dear has caused internal soul-searching. Ask a client's CEO, though, and he will likely tell you this: every CEO goes to bed at night worrying about a bad apple in their ranks—be it a rogue trader or a rogue consultant. As long as it's just a rogue, though, and not a systemic cultural issue, then the response is far more likely to be pity than anger.

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