In this episode, I interviewed Mark Whitacre, the highest-ranked executive of any Fortune 500 company to become a whistleblower in US history. In the interview Mark shares his story which is so fascinating that Hollywood made a movie about it called The Informant, starring Matt Damon (playing Mark Whitacre).
In Mark’s story you’ll hear about how he went from being a 32 years old executive in one of the largest companies in the world with a corporate jet available to him and a house with an 8 car garage, to becoming an informant for the FBI, where he had to wear a recorder to work every day for 3 years.
You’ll hear him tell the story how he went to federal prison for eight and a half years, and how God met him there and changed his life forever.
Mark’s story will challenge you and inspire you at the same time. There are so many lessons within his story. I can’t encourage you enough to listen to this!
You can find the questions that I asked, my key takeaways, ways to connect with Mark below in the show notes. I know that this interview will add value to your life! Enjoy!
To listen to other interviews, go to our Learning to Lead podcast page. To learn more about what we’re doing through Learning to Lead, sign-up for our e-mail newsletter here. To learn about and register for upcoming events, go to our Learning to Lead events page.
Episode #62: Mark Whitacre, The Informant
Mark Edward Whitacre (born May 1, 1957) came to public attention in 1995 when, as president of the BioProducts Division at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) based in Decatur, Illinois, he was the highest-level corporate executive in U.S. history to become a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) whistleblower. For three years (1992–1995), Whitacre acted as an informant for the FBI, which was investigating ADM for price fixing.
In apparent retaliation for his role as an informant, ADM investigated Whitacre’s activities and, upon discovering suspicious activity, requested the FBI investigate Whitacre for embezzlement. As a result of US$9.5 million in various frauds, Whitacre lost his whistleblower’s immunity, and consequently spent eight-and-a-half years in federal prison. He was released in December 2006. Whitacre is currently the chief operating officer and President of Operations at Cypress Systems, a California biotechnology firm.
Connect with Mark:
- How do you lead differently now that you are out of prison?
- What advice do you wish someone would have told you when you started out your career?
- At one point in your life, you thought you had it made and had no need for God, that all changed when you went to prison. What advice do you have for people who think they are living the dream and don’t need God?
- What advice would you give yourself about family if you could go back to the beginning of your career?
- How do you live out your faith in the workplace?
- What do you want your legacy to be?
- Selfish leadership comes with a huge price
- Greed blinds
- The power of servant leadership
- Always do the right thing
- If you’re moving up fast and it involves any kind of unethical behavior, it’s not worth it
- Sometimes the quick way is not the right way
- Money, possessions, and promotions will never fulfill you… you’ll never have enough. It always becomes, “What’s next?”
- Success is impacting your family first THEN impacting the world
- 92% of Jesus public appearances were in the marketplace, not the temple or the synagogue
- People are in need all around us
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