University to host summit on business ethics

1/13/2009 - By: Claudene Wharton

In a recent Ethics & Compliance Officer Association survey, 48 percent of employees nationally indicated that they had done something unethical or illegal within the past year. The annual cost of unethical or illegal acts by U.S. employees is estimated to be about $400 billion.

The University of Nevada, Reno is bringing together business leaders, University educators, attorneys and others next month to discuss ethics in business and provide guidance for managers on how to develop, communicate and enforce a code of ethics in their businesses. The Nevada Business Summit: Navigating the Ethics Maze will be held 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Feb. 3 at the University’s Joe Crowley Student Union in the fourth-floor Ballroom. The University’s College of Business and its Center for Corporate Governance and Business Ethics are hosting the summit.

The keynote speaker will be Patrick Gnazzo, senior vice president of U.S. public sector businesses for Computer Associates. The engaging, former chief trial attorney for the U.S. Navy went to work for the megacompany in 2005 to help it clean up its act. BusinessWeek featured Gnazzo in a 2006 article, “The New Ethics Enforcers,” painting him as “blustery,” and “among the more visible examples of a new species of executive: high-profile former government lawyers and judges who have been tapped, usually by scandal-tainted companies, to police employees.”

The summit’s morning schedule begins with presentations by attorney Rew Goodenow, past president of the Nevada Bar Association; attorney Mark Tratos; and Bill Dressel, president of the University-based National Judicial College. They will discuss ethical challenges in business litigation and bankruptcy; corporate governance and legal issues; and ethics issues in the business of gaming. Professors from the College of Business will lead breakout sessions on ethical issues in real estate, human resources and supply chain management to conclude the morning session.

Following Gnazzo’s presentation at lunch, there will be breakout sessions on ethics and capitalism, privacy issues in the digital age, and leadership and ethics. To conclude the summit, a panel of local chief executive officers will discuss practical issues of business ethics. Panel participants will include Krys Bart, president/CEO of the Reno-Tahoe International Airport Authority; Hal Lenox, president of Nevada AT&T; Ted Power, president and publisher of the Reno Gazette-Journal; and Rafik Beekun, professor of managerial sciences and co-director of the University’s Center for Corporate Governance and Business Ethics. Center co-director Yvonne Stedham and Greg Mosier, College of Business dean, will also be on hand.

“All people have a stake in understanding the intricacies of today’s high-tech, fast-paced society and its impact on ethical behavior,” said Mosier. “Businesses that proactively engage in discussions about ethical and legal issues and have policies and strategies in place can often avoid problems and scandals. The University’s College of Business and Center for Corporate Governance hope to help businesses in our state foster these discussions.”

Registration for the summit is $110 for guests and $85 for alumni, and includes lunch and a reception at 4:30 p.m. Summit participants can earn 4.75 continuing education credits. For more information or to register, go to College of Business or call (775) 682-9148.


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