When Good Leaders Lose Their Way (January 15, 2019 Program)

Mark Whitacre, Ph.D. is considered the highest-ranked executive of any Fortune 500 company to become a whistleblower in U.S. history. The Fisher College of Business is hosting his January 15, 2019 presentation, which will include take-away messages such as:

  • The ultimate real-life lesson in personal and business ethics accountability.
  • Always doing the right thing.
  • The danger of making critical decisions in isolation.
  • The need to focus on the long-term in all of your personal and business decisions.
  • Warning signs of a flawed corporate culture.
  • How the fraud (embezzlement) and price fixing were both concealed for several years. What could the company have done differently today in order to expose the fraud much earlier, and even prevented it?
  • U.S. laws that have been changed because of recent fraud cases and those changed in terms of whistleblower protection.


Tuesday, January, 15, 2019

Choose one of two sessions:

3-4:00 p.m. 305 Gerlach Hall

5-6:00 p.m. 365 Gerlach Hall


Mark Whitacre is an Ivy League Ph.D. and is considered the highest-ranked executive of any Fortune 500 company to become a
whistleblower in U.S. history, and was responsible for uncovering the ADM price-fixing scandal in the early 1990s. Since 2006, Mark has
been an executive with Cypress Systems, Inc, a Californian biotech company involved with human clinical trials (cancer research), and he
was promoted in 2009 to the position of COO & Chief Science Officer. Mark is also COO of CBMC, a non-profit organization that has impacted
his life greatly the past 20 years.

His undercover work with the FBI during the ADM scandal was the inspiration for the 2009 major motion picture, “The Informant,” starring
Matt Damon as Mark Whitacre, and the 2010 Discovery Channel documentary ‘Undercover” archived on Mark Whitacre’s website,
www.markwhitacre.com . The recent book, “Mark Whitacre Against all Odds”, describes the rest of the story about how faith has molded
Mark’s life since the ADM scandal. Drawing from his unique history, Mark provides one-of-a-kind insight into corporate ethics, corporate
greed, and the warning signs of a flawed corporate leadership.

After simultaneously completing B.S. and M.S. degrees at Ohio State University, Mark then earned his Ph.D. degree at Cornell University in
biochemistry (1983). After he completed his Ph.D., he worked for multiple Fortune 500 companies including Ralston Purina, Degussa
(Evonik), and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). Mark was hired at ADM, the 56th largest company on the Fortune 500 at the time, when he was
32 years of age. As the president of the BioProducts Division from its launch, he was the youngest divisional president in the history of the
company. In just six years, his division’s fermentation complex became one of the largest in the world. At age 35, he became a corporate vice
president of ADM and was the leading candidate to become the next company president. Mark has extensive international business
experience, having lived for almost four years in West Germany working for an international company. He has also been involved with two
international companies in the Southeast Asia market and traveled the region dozens of times. Mark’s more than two decades of top
management experience at Fortune 500 and international companies, as well as his experience with the ADM price-fixing scandal and the
FBI, give him a unique, seasoned perspective on leadership in the corporate world.

Today, the four FBI agents involved with Whitacre’s case tout him publicly as a “national hero” for his substantial assistance with one of the
most important white-collar cases in history. And Douglas Burris, chief of U.S. Federal Probation in the Eastern District of Missouri, has stated
publicly, “The story about Mark Whitacre’s redemption and second chance is one of the most inspirational stories of our time.”

Mark and his wife (Ginger) are married for 39 years. They have three adult children.