Before Indra Nooyi became CEO of PepsiCo Inc or Vikram Pandit took over the reins at Citigroup Inc there was Rajat Gupta, the original "global Indian" who was the first to head a major Western business.
More than 17 years after first being elected head of McKinsey & Co, the management consultancy, Gupta was charged late October 2011 in part of the same insider trading investigation that saw his friend, hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, sentenced to 11 years in prison, the longest-ever sentence in such a case.
For hundreds of thousands of bright young men and women from India's huge middle class, Gupta and later Pandit and Nooyi were role models - case studies of how learning and old-fashioned hard work could lead to success on a global scale.
"He kind of came to epitomise, if not exactly a rags-to- riches story, but more of how a person from a relatively humble background, out of sheer hard work and merit, could really rise to the top of the ladder," said Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, a political commentator.
Gupta, 63, on Wednesday (October 25, 2012 IST) was handed down a two-year jail term, a much lighter sentence than US prosecutors had demanded, by a judge who called his insider trading crimes "disgusting" and "a terrible breach of trust.". He was also ordered to pay a $5 million fine.
Gupta gave no visible reaction to the sentence, which was given at the end of a 30-minute statement in which the judge spelled out the businessman's "extraordinary" philanthropy over decades that stood in stark contrast to his crimes.
Image: Rajat Gupta exits Manhattan federal court with his attorney Gary Naftalis, right, following his arraignment on October 26, 2011.
Text: Tony Munroe, Reuters