LinkedIn, the professional networking platform owned by Microsoft, is currently scrutinizing an order from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) following fines imposed on its Indian arm and several top executives. These penalties were handed down due to violations of significant beneficial ownership (SBO) norms stipulated under the Companies Act, 2013.

Compliance with Section 90 of the Companies Act

Section 90 of the Companies Act mandates that companies must disclose the details of their significant beneficial owners (SBOs) to the relevant authorities. According to the MCA’s order, LinkedIn Technology Information Pvt Ltd, along with several high-ranking officials, failed to comply with these requirements.

A LinkedIn spokesperson responded to the situation, stating, “We comply with the laws of the countries we operate in. We are reviewing the order to determine next steps.”

Breakdown of the Order

The Registrar of Companies (RoC) issued the order on Wednesday, highlighting the failure of LinkedIn and its officials to identify and disclose the significant beneficial owners in relation to the company. The entities and individuals fined include:

  • LinkedIn Technology Information Pvt Ltd (Indian arm)
  • LinkedIn Technology Unlimited Co (registered shareholder)
  • LinkedIn Ireland Unlimited Co (beneficial owner)
  • Satya Nadella (Microsoft Chairman and CEO)
  • Ryan Roslansky (LinkedIn Corp CEO)
  • Keith Ranger Dolliver
  • Benjamin Owen Orndorff
  • Michelle Katty Leung
  • Lisa Emiko Sato
  • Ashutosh Gupta
  • Mark Leonard Nadres Legaspi
  • Henry Chining Fong

The order specifically mentioned that Satya Nadella and Ryan Roslansky, as SBOs in relation to the subject company, failed to report as required under Section 90(1) of the Act. Consequently, they are liable for penalties under Section 90(10).

Penalties Imposed

The penalties amount to INR 7 lakh for LinkedIn India, while Nadella and Roslansky each face fines of INR 2 lakh. Other individuals listed in the order also face similar penalties, highlighting the extensive nature of the compliance oversight.

The MCA’s order emphasized that all officers, including non-executive directors, are presumed to have clear knowledge of the company’s holding structure and are therefore liable for the violation. This broad accountability underscores the importance of thorough and accurate SBO reporting within corporate governance frameworks.

LinkedIn’s Position in India

LinkedIn India, a subsidiary of the Microsoft Group, boasts approximately 120 million members in the country. The platform has been actively integrating artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance job opportunities and professional networking for its users.

Despite this recent setback, LinkedIn continues to play a significant role in the Indian job market. The company aims to leverage AI to impact more than half of the jobs in India, reflecting its commitment to innovation and growth in the region.

Recent Developments and Leadership Changes

This compliance issue comes amid significant changes in LinkedIn’s leadership in India. Ashutosh Gupta, the India country manager and APAC head of online sales for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, announced his departure from the company at the end of April after an 11-year tenure. Gupta’s departure marks a significant shift for LinkedIn India as the company navigates both internal changes and external regulatory challenges.

The Importance of SBO Compliance

The MCA’s strict stance on SBO compliance underscores the critical importance of transparency and accountability in corporate structures. Significant beneficial owners, typically those who hold significant control or ownership stakes in a company, must be disclosed to prevent misuse of corporate entities and ensure that regulatory authorities have a clear understanding of who ultimately controls a company.

Section 90 of the Companies Act was designed to enhance transparency and curb illegal activities such as money laundering and tax evasion. By requiring companies to disclose their SBOs, the Act aims to create a more transparent corporate environment where the actual controllers of companies are known and can be held accountable.

LinkedIn’s Next Steps

LinkedIn’s review of the MCA’s order will likely involve a detailed examination of its compliance processes and reporting mechanisms. The company will need to address any gaps in its current practices to ensure full compliance with Indian regulatory requirements moving forward.

Given LinkedIn’s significant presence and influence in the Indian market, how it responds to this compliance issue will be closely watched. The company’s proactive steps to rectify the situation and enhance its governance practices could serve as a model for other multinational corporations operating in India.

Broader Implications for Multinational Corporations

The fines imposed on LinkedIn and its executives highlight the broader implications for multinational corporations operating in India. Regulatory compliance is paramount, and companies must ensure they have robust systems in place to meet local legal requirements. Failure to do so can result in significant financial penalties and reputational damage.

Moreover, this incident underscores the importance of training and awareness among corporate executives and directors regarding their responsibilities under local laws. Even non-executive directors, who might not be involved in day-to-day operations, can be held liable for compliance failures.


As LinkedIn navigates this challenging situation, the focus will be on how the company rectifies its compliance processes and ensures adherence to regulatory requirements in the future. The MCA’s enforcement of SBO norms serves as a reminder of the importance of transparency and accountability in corporate governance, not just in India but globally. This case will likely prompt other companies to reassess their compliance frameworks to avoid similar pitfalls, reinforcing the critical role of robust governance practices in today’s interconnected business environment.

In summary, LinkedIn’s encounter with the MCA over beneficial ownership norms is a pivotal moment that underscores the critical importance of compliance in the corporate world. The outcome of LinkedIn’s review and subsequent actions will set a precedent for how multinational companies handle regulatory challenges in India.

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Saiba Verma, an accomplished editor with a focus on finance and market trends, contributes to Atom News with a dedication to providing insightful and accurate business news. Saiba Verma analytical approach adds depth to our coverage, keeping our audience well-informed.