HealthSouth's co-founder and former CFO Aaron Beam Jr., who was once jailed for bank fraud, will discuss "Fifty Shades of Grey" on Wed. Oct. 3 in Georgia Tech's IMPACT Speaker Series.
Beam, who feels it's his obligation to share his story so that others won't be led astray, will speak at 4:30 p.m. in LeCraw Auditorium of the Scheller College of Business (800 West Peachtree Street). His lecture is free and open to the public.
Organized by Georgia Tech's Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship, the IMPACT Series brings notable business executives, high-tech entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and intellectual leaders to the College.
Beam's work history at first reads like the "Great American Success Story," he says. He started a company from zero, raised venture capital, took the company public, and became an overnight millionaire.
The company was HealthSouth, which Beam co-founded in 1984 and which went on to become the nation's largest provider of outpatient surgery and rehabilitative services. As revenues grew to more than $3.5 billion, Beam enjoyed the many rewards that corporate success can bring – until 1996, when the company's earnings fell just slightly short of its goal. That's when, according to Beam, HealthSouth's chief executive, Richard Scrushy, ordered the books to be fixed.
Beam went along with the fraudulent activity at HealthSouth for a year, and then resigned from the company in 1997. HealthSouth’s fraud continued until 2003, at which time it was made public by one of Beam's successors. He and each of the other four CFOs testified against Scrushy when the case went to trial in 2005. In the meantime, Beam pled guilty to bank fraud and eventually served three months in a federal prison.
With the HealthSouth turmoil behind him, Beam is focusing on the future. He understands the pressures that abound in the boardroom and he wants to educate today's business leaders – and the leaders of tomorrow – to the potential pitfalls along the road to success. Beam hopes that by sharing his perspective as a key player in one of the biggest corporate frauds in recent history, he can help future business leaders avoid making the same mistake he made.
For the full lineup of IMPACT speakers this fall, visit the IMPACT Website.