Business Ethics Lessons Learned…:
A Citigroup Whistleblower’s Perspective
by Richard M Bowen (Author), Niki Nicastro McCuistion (Editor)
For the last two years my team and I have been researching and writing weekly on critical issues in business and government that impact our economy in three primary areas of focus: ethics, government policy and whistleblowing. Our goal was to explore the best and worst practices of management in these areas. And from these articles we have compiled the most popular to include in this book; giving you insights to several areas, in one place.
With the overall lens of ethics you’ll find articles that illustrate and prove how critical ethical behavior is to the overall performance, productivity and shareholder value of a company. Those companies with the most ethical culture value feedback from their employees and take action to ensure that values are followed and preserved and become an integral way of doing business.
In the government policy area we explore how too many times government formulation of policy and regulations are antithetical to ethical behavior, do not hold people accountable and in turn how this continually harms our society and our financial well being.
The whistleblowing category discusses the many instances of where accepted unethical behavior drives more of the same behaviors within companies, industries and government. My personal experience as a witness to fraudulent practices led to becoming a whistleblower and eventually being banned from my profession. I can attest to, personally and professionally, how greed, corruption and a total disregard for stakeholders harms a company and society.
William D. Cohan, one of America’s most respected financial journalists and author of the recently released Why Wall Street Matters; House of Cards and several other best sellers was kind enough to write the Foreword that puts the financial debacle, the greed on Wall Street, and outrageous government behavior into a succinct perspective you’ll enjoy reading.
“Whistleblowing requires an extraordinary amount of courage, conviction, integrity and guts.” ~ William D. Cohan
- Paperback: 158 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 8, 2017)
About the Author
According to the Wall Street Journal, CBS Evening News, and 60 Minutes, Richard Bowen is the Citigroup whistleblower who repeatedly warned Citi executive management about risky business practices and potential losses related to mortgage lending.
As a Business Chief Underwriter for Citigroup during the housing bubble financial crisis meltdown, he saw fraud firsthand inside the organization. He watched with disbelief at the way the company certified poor mortgages as quality mortgages and sold them to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other investors.For two years he repeatedly warned executive management and the board of directors. His warnings were ignored, despite the fact that withholding such information from shareholders and investors violated the Sarbanes-Oxley act. Citigroup eventually stripped him of all responsibilities, placed him on administrative leave and told him his presence was no longer required at the bank.Richard subsequently testified before the Securities & Exchange Commission and gave them 1,000 pages of evidence of fraudulent activities, with the bank bailouts occurring three months later.In 2010, Richard was a key witness in the mortgage mishaps as he gave nationally televised testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. He was shocked to see the orchestrated efforts to hide key parts of his testimony from the American public.Richard’s testimony has been widely quoted in numerous articles and pieces of litigation related to the meltdown. Despite years of extensive coverage and numerous subpoenas with additional testimony, he is dismayed that no one has been held accountable for what happened at Citigroup or other financial institutions, and no one has been prosecuted for the massive fraud that contributed to the crisis.As a highly sought after speaker on ethical leadership, he shares his firsthand knowledge of how a company can get into ethical problems. More importantly, he explains in clear terms what an organization must do to instill effective guiding principles.Mr. Bowen has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas Tech University and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a Certified Public Accountant and was named CPA of The Year (2012) by the Dallas Society of CPA’s and Dallas’ D CEO Magazine recognized him as the 2012 recipient of its Financial Executives Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance.
In addition to these stories, Bowen delves into the issue of ethics – corporate ethics and personal ethics. Bowen seems to have a backbone of steel with his ethics. He gave up a very lucrative career with Citigroup by trying to warn Rubin, the Chairman of the Board of Citigroup at the time, about the unethical behavior of his unit and the impending doom it predicted for both Citigroup and the entire economy. He was right. He was fired.
Bowen is a Professor at UT Dallas and a speaker. I think Richard Bowen is a canary in the mines and we can learn a lot from him. I recommend this book.