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Vanguard Group Chairman and CEO Jack Brennan Discusses Market Value of Integrity
October 29, 2002
WALTHAM, Mass. - At the start of his lecture yesterday, Jack Brennan recalled how much times have changed in the past year.
"The reality of the Enron situation is just a year old. CEO's weren't doing 'perp walks' on TV then," he said. "As [a CEO], I feel a little awkward standing up here and preaching to you about ethics."
Brennan, chairman and CEO of The Vanguard Group, was the latest guest speaker in the Sears Lectureship in Business Ethics presented by the Center for Business Ethics at Bentley College, through the support of Sears, Roebuck and Co.
Brennan discussed "The Market Value of Integrity" to a standing-room-only crowd in Wilder Pavilion, and showed how troubled companies in the news such as Tyco and Enron all have one common thread: the problems start at the top.
"The system works. If you cheat, you get caught. If you run a crooked company, it goes broke," said Brennan. "Whenever I have doubts about a company, I look right at the CEO."
He also compared the CEO scandals and America's recent economic downturn to the recent wildfires in the west and a massive blaze that struck Yellowstone National Park back in the late 80's.
"The financial markets are very much an ecological system, and these scandals have taken a toll," he said. "But I'm an optimist, and as damaging as these events have been, they can and will serve a useful purpose."
Brennan can speak with optimism from experience, as he's been at Vanguard for 20 years and seen numerous ups and downs. In his introduction, Bentley President Joe Morone noted that Brennan became president of Vanguard in 1989, at the young age of 33.
"Vanguard has stood out as a beacon as a company in terms of integrity and doing business well," said Morone.
BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit www.bentley.edu.
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