Smeal College of Business

Price-fixing whistleblower and FBI informant to deliver Shoemaker Lecture

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Mark Whitacre, the corporate whistleblower who revealed price fixing at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and spent more than eight years in federal prison for tax evasion and fraud, will deliver a lecture titled “When Good Leaders Lose Their Way” from 6 to 7:15 p.m. on Nov. 6, in 100 Thomas Building on the Penn State University Park campus.

The lecture, which is part of the Penn State Smeal College of Business’ G. Albert Shoemaker Program in Business Ethics, is free and open to the public. Registration is required at

In 1992, when he was a corporate vice president of ADM and president of the company’s BioProducts Division, Whitacre informed the FBI of an illegal lysine price-fixing scheme. Over the next three years, he collected information and recorded conversations for the FBI, helping establish one of the largest price-fixing cases in U.S. history. ADM eventually faced more than $100 million in fines for the lysine scandal as well as another conspiracy in the citric acid market. Three of its executives spent time in prison.

Whitacre was released from federal prison in 2006 after serving all but two years of a 10-year sentence for tax evasion and fraud, for which he lost his whistleblower’s immunity. He now serves as chief operating officer and president of operations of Cypress Systems. Whitacre’s story is the basis of the Kurt Eichenwald book, “The Informant,” which was later adapted into a feature film directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Matt Damon.

The morning following his Shoemaker Lecture, Whitacre and his wife, Ginger, also will be guest speakers at a breakfast event sponsored by the Christian BusinessMen’s Connection. To RSVP for the breakfast, which is at 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 7, at the Mountain View Country Club in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, email or call 814-404-9807. 

The G. Albert Shoemaker Program in Business Ethics at Smeal was established in 1985 through a $100,000 gift from the late G. Albert Shoemaker and his wife Mercedes.  The donation created an endowment to encourage academic and corporate interest in business ethics. The Shoemaker Program supports speakers on the topic of business ethics, interactions between speakers and students, the development of ethics-related instructional materials, as well as scholarly research.


Last Updated January 10, 2015