Mark Whitacre is the subject of the Warner Brothers and Steven Soderbergh-directed feature film, "The Informant" starring Matt Damon as Mark Whitacre, and the Discovery Channel TV-documentary, "Undercover".
Mark Whitacre is an Ivy League Ph.D. and was the highest-level executive of a Fortune 500 company to become a whistleblower in US history. After blowing the whistle in 1992, Mark then worked undercover with the FBI for 3 years wearing a wire everyday in one of the largest price-fixing cases in history. Working undercover for such a long period of time took a tremendous psychological toll on Mark in the mid-1990s.
After his undercover tenure was completed, Mark went to federal prison for eight and a half years for a white-collar crime that occurred during his undercover tenure. What was remarkable, he was able to keep his marriage to his high school sweetheart and family completely intact. Furthermore, the FBI agents involved with Whitacre's case more recently (starting in 2008) touted Whitacre publicly as a "national hero" for his substantial assistance with one of the most important white-collar cases in history. And four FBI agents - along with a former federal prosecutor - involved with Mark's case have been lobbying for a Presidential Pardon for Mark.
His story is an important personal and business ethics lesson about "doing the right thing". But it is also a story of hope, family commitment, how to overcome extreme adversity, and a story of how redemption and second chances really do exist in America. After Mark's decade-long prison sentence was completed, he rejoined his loving family and was quickly hired as an executive back to his roots in the biotechnology industry. In less than two years, he was promoted to COO and President.
"When Good Leaders Lose Their Way"
His take away messages include:
the ultimate real-life lesson in personal and business ethicsaccountabilityabout ALWAYS doing the right thingthe need to think long-term in all of your personal and business decisions.
Mark’s presentation is extremely entertaining as he actively engages his audience about how he wore a wire for the FBI everyday traveling the globe for three years in one of the largest white-collar cases in U.S. history. But, his story is also about Hope, Family Commitment, Redemption & Second Chances, and a wonderful example of a family Overcoming Extreme Adversity, against all odds.
Recent interview with FORBES:
Mark Whitacre's Presentation on Business Ethics and Overcoming Adversity (Part 1)
Mark Whitacre's Presentation on Business Ethics and Overcoming Adversity (Part 2)