OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – One of the top executives responsible for the second-largest accounting scandal in history will visit Oklahoma Christian University Oct. 28.
Former WorldCom Controller David Myers will be the speaker for OC’s 2014 Millican Ethics Symposium.
His lecture, “The Slippery Slope: Learning From Someone Else’s Mistakes,” is free and begins at 7:30 p.m. in OC’s Judd Theatre.
“A strength of OC’s accounting program is our emphasis on strong, ethical behavior,” said Elaine Kelly, associate professor of accounting and holder of the J.J. Millican chair at OC. “It is very beneficial for our students to learn the consequences of what happens when someone chooses an unethical course of action. It is also important to address how someone can choose to recover from an unethical decision and seek redemption by their actions.”
In 2005, Myers pled guilty to felony charges for his role in the $11 billion scandal at WorldCom. He admitted to instructing the accounting department to make financial adjustments to fit Wall Street expectations during a period of declining profitability.
Myers was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison, a lighter sentence due to his cooperation with the government and the remorse he showed for his actions. The judge praised Myers for quickly admitting his mistake and working with the government before a plea deal was offered. At his sentencing, Myers expressed his regret.
"At the time I consider to be the single most critical character-defining moment of my life, I failed," he said. "As I teach my children what is right and what is wrong, I've got to acknowledge that I did something that was not just wrong, but horribly wrong."
Since then, Myers has donated a substantial amount of time speaking to universities and organizations across the country. He shares the lessons he learned and the consequences his decisions had on his family and the lives of many others.
“As Christians, we believe in the redemptive process,” said Jeff Simmons, associate professor of business and interim dean of the School of Business Administration. “We all have the ability to change our course of action. I think what David is doing today will help others keep from making the same mistake.”
Certified Public Accountants who attend the seminar will be able to earn one hour of professional credit. Online registration for the event is available at www.oc.edu/events/ethics-symposium. For more information, call (405) 425-5560, or contact Elaine Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today, Myers is owner and CFO of Sunflower Home Health in Mississippi. Prior to joining WorldCom, he was the CFO and Treasurer of Lamar Life Insurance Group. He also worked for Ernst & Young in their Houston, Texas, and Jackson, Mississippi, offices. Myers received bachelor’s degrees in accounting and marketing from the University of Mississippi.
The Ethics Symposium is sponsored by the J.J. Millican Endowment, which was created by Don and Donna Millican to honor Don’s father. Don serves as executive vice president and chief financial officer for Kaiser-Francis Oil Company and as Oklahoma Christian’s board chair.
The endowment provides academic opportunities to OC students, faculty and the university community through scholarships, programs, Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants student memberships and other activities related to the field of accounting and ethics in OC's College of Business Administration.
J.J. Millican was a respected Christian businessman, faithful husband and father, as well as a Certified Public Accountant. He also was a national partner with Ernst & Young. Previous symposium speakers have included Enron whistle-blower Sherron Watkins, nationally-known tax expert Susan Hamill, and championship football coach Gene Stallings.
In addition to the Ethics Symposium, OC students also participate in the Oklahoma Business Ethics Consortium’s Student Ethics Challenge. OC won the state competition last fall and placed fifth in the national Ethics Bowl Competition this spring. Simmons serves as the faculty sponsor for the debate teams.
Oklahoma Christian, ranked as one of the best universities in the western region of the United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity and theological studies.