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Costco co-founder Sinegal, corporate execs to discuss business ethics in Notre Dame lecture series

by Carol Elliott

August 23, 2012

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When James Sinegal, the co-founder and longtime CEO of Costco Corp., announced that he would retire as of Jan. 1, 2012, an article in The Washington Post described his departure as a loss to corporate America, saying, “It’s hard to imagine anyone with less pretense, more discipline or more integrity leading a major corporation today.”

Sinegal’s legacy as a corporate leader included a fierce loyalty to employees, a refusal to raise prices more than 15 percent over cost, a no-frills office, a personal-pay level of about a third of average CEO compensation, and no layoffs, even during the steepest of downturns.

Sinegal will be speaking about leading with integrity as part of the 2012 John A. Berges Lecture Series in Business Ethics, an annual fall series offered by the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. Other speakers include executives from PeopleLink Staffing Solutions, KPMG, UnitedHealth Group and Exelon Corp., who will speak on a range of topics pertaining to business ethics and corporate leadership.

Lectures, which are free and open to the public, begin at 7 p.m., with the exception of the Sept. 10 event which begins at 6:30 p.m.

The 2012 Berges Lecture Series schedule and locations are as follows: 

·        Aug. 29: Ann Rhoades, president of People Link; “Built on Values.” To be held in Room 141 in the Edward J. DeBartolo Hall.

·        Sept. 10: James Sinegal, CEO of Costco Corporation; “Shared Success: Corporate Values in Action.” To be held in the Jordan Auditorium at the Mendoza College of Business.    

·        Sept. 18: Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick, global head of Citizenship and Diversity, KPMG; “Leading with Values.” To be held in Room 141 in the Edward J. DeBartolo Hall.

·        Oct. 25: Anthony Welters, executive vice president, UnitedHealth Group; “The Challenges of Ethics in Leadership.” To be held in the Jordan Auditorium at the Mendoza College of Business.   

·        Nov. 14: Kristopher Keys, vice president of Compliance, Exelon Corporation; “Ethics and Energy.” To be held in the Jordan Auditorium at the Mendoza College of Business.   

The Berges Lecture Series is presented by the Center for Ethics and Religious Values in Business and Institute for Ethical Business Worldwide. The series features senior executives speaking on their experiences of the ethical dimensions of business.

For more information, contact Deb Coch at (574) 631-6072 or coch.1@nd.edu, or visit the series website at http://business.nd.edu/news_and_events/speaker_series/berges/.