FHU School of Business to Host Corporate Whistle Blower
Weston Smith, former chief financial officer of HealthSouth, will speak at Freed-Hardeman University Monday, Oct. 15, in conjunction with the School of Business Leadership Series. He will speak at 4:30 in Ayers Auditorium.
Smith, who blew the whistle on a multi-year, multi-billion dollar financial statement fraud, speaks frequently on ethics and integrity in business. In what he calls “Crossing the Line—An Insider’s Perspective of the HealthSouth Fraud,” he describes the culture of the company, the mechanics of the fraud, and how detection was avoided.
HealthSouth, once a Fortune 500 company, grew from one location to more than 2,000 in all 50 states over a dozen years. Underneath the “glimmering corporate office and the fleet of corporate jets,” lay a huge corporate fraud, Smith said.
“When I speak,” he said, “I tell the story of the ‘former’ HealthSouth and its failed corporate culture, but more importantly, I focus on why this story is relevant in today’s business world. I talk about the fraud’s small beginnings, the deceptive rationalizations, and how and why it grew exponentially.” He also discusses his decision to ultimately blow the whistle.
Smith challenges and motivates his listeners “to simply do the right thing.” Whether students are in business or not,” he said, “my goal is to stress principles of honesty and long-term direction and discipline.”
"Academic excellence permeated with Christian values is at the core of Freed-Hardeman's mission," Mark Steiner, Dean of the FHU School of Business, said. "It is an honor having Mr. Smith on campus to speak to our students and community about the importance of good ethical character and how we might learn from his experiences."
Smith, a graduate of University of North Alabama, is a former CPA. He is a regular contributor to researchers of corporate fraud and has been a guest of Neil Cavuto on Fox Business Channel.
A reception at 4 p.m. will precede Smith’s remarks. The public is invited to attend; admission if free.