Engaging in “loopholes” often leads to ethically-challenged behavior. Most business schools and companies teach that ethical behavior means following the law and the rules. But, it is not. Ethics is understanding the difference between what is right to do and what you have the right to do. In other words, it is understanding what not to do, when you are allowed to do it. Human Resource professionals can elevate their importance and make a positive impact on their companies by helping its employees identify when they are falling into this trap.
Despite today’s more regulated and enlightened business environment, we continue to witness “Enron-esque” failures of corporate governance, compliance, and ethics. Enron’s former CFO will make observations about how the ambiguity and complexity of laws and regulations breeds opportunity for problematic decisions and will discuss the new artificial intelligence tools available to corporate directors, management, attorneys, fraud examiners and auditors, in order to ensure that their companies not only follow the rules, but uphold the principles behind them. Mr. Fastow was the Chief Financial Officer of Enron Corp. from 1998 – 2001. In 2004, he pled guilty to two counts of securities fraud, and was sentenced to six years in federal prison. He completed his sentence in 2011, and now lives with his family in Houston, Texas.
Mr. Fastow currently consults with Directors, attorneys, and hedge funds on how best to identify potentially critical finance, accounting, compensation, and cultural issues. He is also a Principal of KeenCorp, an artificial intelligence business software company. Mr. Fastow received a BA in Economics and Chinese from Tufts University and an MBA in Finance from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Prior to joining Enron, he was a Senior Director in the Asset Securitization Group at Continental Bank N.A. Since his release from prison, Mr. Fastow has been a guest lecturer at universities and corporations, and at conferences for management, corporate directors, attorneys, accountants, and certified fraud examiners.