Regulatory Trend Inspires Prof to Create Forum
Roundtable Group Addresses Growing Need for Corporate Compliance Expertise
Dr. Constantine “Connie” Konstans has a gift for intuiting future business trends and building useful new means to respond to them.
In 2003, the longtime School of Management accounting professor founded the Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance to help company directors and executives discharge their duties with greater ethical vigor and more effectiveness. The year before, the Sarbanes–Oxley Act, the most far–reaching government crackdown on marketplace misdeeds in almost 70 years, had substantially redefined those responsibilities in the wake of Enron, Global Crossing, Tyco, WorldCom and other scandals.
Renee Hornbaker (left), the Dallas chapter president of Financial Executives International, congratulates Dr. Constantine “Connie” Konstans for winning a Lifetime Achievement Award.
This past January, Konstans created the Chief Compliance Officer Forum after seeing the regulatory environment bulk up anew. To him, passage last year of the healthcare reform act and the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act foreshadowed a growing role for employees tasked with ensuring corporate accountability.
With the increased prevalence of governmental regulations, Konstans says, “the internal compliance function is growing. … It’s going to be a big deal. There are going to be a lot of jobs.”
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics agrees. It predicts a bright occupational outlook for compliance officers, with 108,500 projected openings between 2008 and 2018, giving the profession a “much faster-than-average” growth rate — above 20 percent.
Konstans is putting his stamp on the field with the forum, an invitation–only roundtable that includes representatives from companies such as AT&T, Bank of America, Dean Foods and JCPenney. The institute’s longtime strategic partner, Deloitte & Touche, sponsors the quarterly meetings, intended, Konstans says, to give DFW–based senior compliance officers “an opportunity to interact among themselves and share their concerns” in a confidential setting where they can discuss sensitive issues, have frank conversations, strengthen ties to one another and move the profession forward.
Results so far have been excellent, according to Konstans. “My hope that this would be a forum where people share ideas happened at the second meeting” in April, he says. By then, the 18–company group was discussing the problem of implementing ethics and compliance in countries such as China.
“I’m a facilitator more than a group leader,” Konstans says of his forum role. But he is fine with that, he says, because it allows him to pursue his underlying interest “in further professionalizing an emerging discipline.”
Besides, he views it as “a neat thing” that the CCO Forum directly relates to his graduate–level Government, Risk Management and Compliance course and that both forum and course tie in to his latest research.
These new missions led to his appearance last month at a conference in Miami, where he helped deliver a presentation on the evolution of corporate governance, risk management and compliance.
As he started the CCO Forum, Konstans, a past director of School of Management accounting programs on the faculty since 1993, handed over leadership of the Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance to Clinical Professor Dennis McCuistion. Now in its ninth year, the IECG has earned a national reputation for booking expert speakers, keeping programs timely, and mixing — consistently and purposefully — academic, business and government perspectives.
Konstans’ efforts have not gone unnoticed. In March, the Dallas Chapter of Financial Executives International presented him a Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing him not only for past service as chapter president and ongoing service as a board member, but also for founding the institute.
Likewise, in May, D CEO magazine named him winner of its Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance, one its first Financial Executives Awards.
Happy for the accolade, Konstans took equal delight in learning that the magazine also had honored two of his former students. Named Outstanding Private Company Chief Financial Officer, Mahesh Shetty of Encore Enterprises Inc. graduated in 1999 from the School of Management’s Executive MBA program, and Outstanding Public Company CFO Patti McKee of ViewPoint Bank earned a BS in accounting in 1993 and an Executive MBA in 2001. Remembering both from his financial accounting class, he recalled: “I was very pleased and proud of them.”
Dr. Connie Konstans' invitation-only roundtable includes representatives from AT&T, Bank of America, Dean Foods and JCPenney. Before forming the Chief Compliance Officer Forum, he created the Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance at UT Dallas.
D Magazine Honors KonstansAlong with 2 UT Dallas Alumni
In May D CEO magazine named Dr. Constantine “Connie” Konstans winner of its Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance. The honor was magnified by the fact that the magazine has recognized two of Konstans' former students, Patti McKee and Mahesh Shetty.
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