Now Playing

Disgraced CEO Gurbaksh Chahal Used Alter Ego ‘Christian Gray’ to Humiliate Employees



This may not be the worst thing ex-tech CEO and serial domestic violence suspect Gurbaksh Chahal has done, but it's got to be one of the weirdest. According to half a dozen people in Chahal's orbit reached by Bloomberg, he created an alter ego named Christian Gray—a homophone of the 50 Shades of Grey protagonist Christian Grey—to compete with his own employees for sales leads. Gray even has his own LinkedIn page, complete with a heavily Photoshopped pic of actor Josh Dallas of the fairy-tale mashup TV drama Once Upon a Time.

Per his LinkedIn page, Gray works at Gravity4—Chahal's digital advertising startup—as VP of platform accounts. His interests are "skiing, biking, running, photography."

The point, explains Bloomberg, was this:

Chahal would e-mail marketing professionals as Gray, and when he hooked a potential customer, the CEO would berate staff for being outsold by a fake person, said the people, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution. Two people said Chahal had at times used Gray’s sales leads as an excuse to fire workers.

The inspiration might have been the very reputation troubles Chahal faced after his firing from his previous company, RadiumOne, in the wake of a damning domestic violence case involving a romantic partner. (A video reportedly showed Chahal hitting and kicking her 117 times, but it was deemed inadmissable in court.) As Bloomberg tells it, Chahal "knew he couldn't be effective as the face of the business." So the incredibly photogenic accused batterer did the obvious thing and...crafted an alter ego with the name of an S&M character and fictional business magnate. As one does.

Gray's act was cut short, however, when Chahal allegedly kicked a girlfriend and threatened to report her to immigration if she came forward about the incident. There wasn't enough to bring criminal charges, but the new allegations spurred a judge to revoke Chahal's probation last month. No longer fit to serve as CEO of two companies in a row, he named his sister CEO. And today, Chahal may be sentenced to jail time for violating probation.

To which we can only add, #NotMyChristian.

Update, 8/12/16: Chahal was sentenced to one year of jail today for violating his probation, but was not taken into custody pending an appeal. 


Have feedback? Email us at
Email Lamar Anderson at
Follow us on Twitter @sanfranmag
Follow Lamar Anderson on Twitter @srslynow