Institute for Ethical Leadership Press & Media

Newark, NJ
Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Karen Kessler, the founder and president of Evergreen PR, has been named the chair of the executive business cabinet at the Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School, the institute announced.

Kessler is known for her sound counsel and approach to handling ethical dilemmas faced by a high-profile client base. In January, she was named to the NJBIZ Power 100 list.

James Abruzzo, co-founder of the institute, said in a statement that he feels Kessler's experience will be a huge plus for the institute.

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Newark, NJ
Wednesday, March 1, 2017


The Institute for Ethical Leadership at the Rutgers Business School announced it has appointed Dr. Joanne B. Ciulla its newest academic director.

Ciulla will also become professor of leadership ethics at Rutgers Business School's Department of Management and Global Business.

"I was attracted to Rutgers because I saw great potential in the Institute for Ethical Leadership to serve the academic, business, nonprofit and government communities," Ciulla said.

"We are pleased and consider ourselves fortunate to have attracted Joanne to the IEL," James Abruzzo, institute co-founder, said. "Her values, energy and desire to make the IEL a significant force for good are aligned with ours."

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Boston, MA
Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Boston Globe

Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, one of the state's largest nonprofits, gave longtime president Barry Shrage an unusual $1.34 million payment after deciding he had been underpaid for years.

The one-time cash payout was called a retirement payment even though Shrage, 69, has no imminent plans to retire. It was made in 2014, on top of his $563,000 in compensation and benefits, but did not have to be disclosed until the organization filed its most recent tax return this year.

James Abruzzo, a compensation consultant to nonprofits who cofounded the Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School, said that while CJP's move is not routine, the Internal Revenue Service permits nonprofits to do a "look back" to determine if their executives have been underpaid, and to make up the possible difference.

Abruzzo said Shrage's payment is "not something that would raise a red flag with me," considering the size and complexity of CJP, which Shrage has led since 1987.

"Any time you make a payment like that, you should be ready to explain it," he added, "but if the board followed the correct steps, even though it sounds juicy, I can't say there’s something wrong with it."

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Newark, NJ
Thursday, August 11, 2016


The Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School Newark, and the Governance & Accountability Institute announce their second program in the two-day learning and knowledge-sharing curriculum leading to a Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The theme is "Good to Great -- Building a Best-in-Class CSR Department."  This session builds on the success of the introductory program held in May 2016.

The Fall program will be on September 28 and 29, 2016 at the Rutgers Business School campus in downtown Newark, New Jersey.  Registration opened this week for the two-day course.

An outstanding group of keynoters, panel moderators and speakers is lining up for the program.  Participants will have a choice of two tracks -- one for corporate responsibility topics and the other for not-for-profit / social sector organization topics, with plenary sessions to share knowledge and experience with all participants.

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Newark, NJ
Monday, April 11, 2016

Bloomberg Business

For corporate responsibility and sustainability professionals, there is an important area that needs to be in focus, a critical area that presents challenges, risks and myriad opportunities: the global supply chain. Enterprises of all sizes and sectors are making a difference in society, creating competitive advantages and mitigating risks through responsible supply chain and procurement practices.

The Institute for Ethical Leadership at the Rutgers Business School and the Governance & Accountability Institute are partnering to offer a Corporate Social Responsibility Certificate Program with a key topic area of supply chain management. The subject will be led by Dr. Kevin Lyons, an associate professor of supply chain management at Rutgers Business School and will focus on these critical topics for corporate managers:


  • Quantifying economic and social development options
  • Focusing on four main supply chain and sustainability responsibilities
  • Emergence of social procurement strategies
  • Stakeholder mapping
  • Working with social enterprises
  • The importance of the circular economy shift

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Newark, NJ
Thursday, March 17, 2016

Accountability Central

Rutgers Business School’s Institute for Ethical Leadership and G&A Institute joined forces to develop and offer a Corporate Social Responsibility Certificate Program for corporate professionals. The first executive education program classes begin on Wednesday, April 27 and Thursday, April 28 at the Rutgers Business School campus in Newark, New Jersey. The two-day program features a deep dive into CSR and the related fields of philanthropy, sustainability, risk management, supply chain management, and ethics.

Louis. D. Coppola of Governance & Accountability Institute will lead an interactive course focused on diving deep into the history, definitions, and practicality of “materiality” from a sustainability perspective and the importance of determining materiality in the context of the corporate CSR program or when making investment decisions.

Materiality, as the U.S. Supreme Court defined it under the scope of U.S. securities law (and as the Securities & Exchange Commission generally applies it to corporate disclosure and reporting) along these lines: The materiality of particular information is whether there is a substantial likelihood that a reasonable investor would consider the misstated or missing information as having significantly altered the total mix of information that was available.

With the dramatic expansion of disclosure and reporting of ESG performance data (environmental, social and governance), the range of information being made public by companies is bringing about a vigorous dialogue (especially among investors) focused on the materiality of information.

Participants will be able to directly relate to the content and material, allowing them to apply their learning to their current work place immediately.

Registration includes breakfast, lunch, dinner Wednesday evening, parking, and course materials. Upon completion of the 2 day program, participants will be awarded a certificate in executive leadership. The program runs from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, on Wednesday, April 27 and Thursday, April 28, at the Rutgers University Business School in Newark, NJ.

To learn more about the CSR Certificate program, call 973-353-1134, email, or visit

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Newark, NJ
Sunday, January 17, 2016

Pittsburg Post-Gazette

It is hard to miss all of the Western hand‐wringing over China and its equity markets on the 24/7 financial news channels. Where was it written that the rest of the world was entitled to a double‐digit rate of return out of China, year after year, in perpetuity? Investing 101 tells us that past performance is no guarantee of future results.

And yet, incredibly, the American business media that are diagnosing what China's regulators should do are the same outlets that missed the great mortgage‐backed security fiasco that took the global economy to the brink of disaster in 2008.

Nowhere was there a more perfect distillation of this petulant Western investor sentiment over China's misfortune than The New York Times editorial headlined "China’s Obsolete Economic Strategy," in which the paper took the Chinese to task for "making so many mistakes" in handling their economy.

The aperture through which outlets like Bloomberg News and CNBC view the China stock market crash is entirely too small, because a broader view would collapse the editorial validity of their enterprise. Let's call it "big‐board myopia."

"China does not have a stock market problem," says Michael Santoro, professor of global business ethics at Rutgers Business School, and author of the book, China 2020: How Western Business Can and Should Influence Social Change in the Coming Decade.  "It has deep political, social, economic and environmental problems."

Failure to see this China crisis through Mr. Santoro's multidisciplinary prism is to miss the significance of what this moment means for China and, by extension, the world. It is not just about money.

Incredibly, in the hundreds of words that the Times' editorialists wrote on how China "turned what should have been a benign, natural slowdown into a chaotic
 descent" — a view common in the business press — the paper made no mention of the "red alert" air‐quality environmental emergency that has required the closing of schools and thousands of manufacturing facilities.

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Princeton, NJ
Wednesday, January 6, 2016

U.S. 1 Princeton Info

Many professions have codes of ethics that prevent its members from engaging in harmful, though legal actions. Every doctor takes the Hippocratic Oath.

Even lawyers have codes of ethics that obligate them to be honest and fair to all parties involved in a trial.

But what code of ethics restrains the actions of a business leader? While many companies have created their own codes of ethics, there is no code governing business people in general. The MBA graduation ceremony has no equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath.

That’s something that has never sat well with James Abruzzo, co-founder of the Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership. “There are certain things that define a profession, and business doesn’t have those,” Abruzzo says. “We need some kind of agreed-upon set of principles by which we can make decisions. One of the things that defines professions is a code of ethics, and there are hundreds of them.”

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Rutgers Today
Newark, NJ
Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Rutgers Today

For decades, Rutgers University-Newark has offered seed grants to artists whose creations highlight the essence of the city.

One of the best-kept secrets about Newark is how it nurtures the arts. From the Robeson and other galleries at Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N), to the Newark Museum, to the majestic New Jersey Performing Arts Center and WBGO jazz radio, downtown Newark is humming with arts and artists.

RU-N is now injecting even more energy into Newark’s rich arts environment.

Arts and humanities programs make up a major portion of more than $4 million in “seed grants” that the chancellor’s office awarded in fall 2015 – for academic and cultural programs devised by RU-N faculty that are intended both to strengthen Newark communities and make the life of the city more integral to the university’s own scholarship.

Through another of the seed grants – obtained by faculty members Ian Watson, chair of the Department of Arts, Culture and Media; and James Abruzzo of Rutgers Business School – Rutgers University-Newark has made plans to launch a two-track Master’s Program in Urban Arts and Cultural Leadership.

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Newark, NJ
Tuesday, August 11, 2015

When it comes to lending money, it's a fine line between being generous and being a sucker. These real-life scenarios (with name changes, etc.) will help you create your own ground rules for giving.

To help us assess each situation, we turned to three authorities for their unique perspectives.

Personal finance expert: Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach
Ethicist: Ann Buchholtz, Business ethics professor at Rutgers Business School
Minister: L. Roger Owens, Associate professor of leadership and ministry at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

In each case, what would you do?

Read all scenarios and answers

New York, NY
Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Psychology Today

Temptations are everywhere in life, from the rich chocolate torte in the gleaming bakery case to the possibility of finally hooking up with a neighbor or co-worker you’ve been interested in for years. You think to yourself, “What’s wrong with just one small piece?” or in the case of the hookup (assuming you’re in a committed relationship) “How bad would it be to go out for one little drink?”

You might also be tempted, on occasion, to behave in a way that violates your sense of right and wrong.

The study of temptation tends to examine how people behave unethically when they truly desire to be ethical. Less frequently studied are the factors that lead people to resist temptation when it’s staring them in the face.

Rutgers Business School assistant professor and psychologist Oliver Sheldon and University of Chicago’s Ayelet Fishbach (2015) believed that people would be more likely to resist temptation if they could be encouraged to take the long view of seeing one piece of unethical behavior as tied to an entire series of actions that are all interconnected.

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Belleville, NJ
Thursday, July 16, 2015

A local man has filed a lawsuit claiming Interim Township Manager Kevin Esposito used his dual role as tax assessor to drive down the value of a property the township was hoping to purchase.

“By serving as the Township Manager for the same municipality as he serves as Tax Assessor, Defendant Esposito placed himself in a position in which his duties as Assessor were subordinate to his duties as Manager," the suit reads.

A spokesman for the state Attorney General's office could not immediately be reached for comment on the arrangement.

Ann Buchholtz, a professor of leadership and ethics and research director at The Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School, said holding both positions would not necessarily be an inherent conflict of interest, though the assessment of a property that the township was hoping to purchase would likely cross the line.

She added that many towns allow residents to appeal their assessments to a separate board or other party outside of the assessor's office, which might mitigate any such concerns. Murphy said Belleville residents can direct their concerns to the Essex County Board of Taxation.

"Certainly, if this person has no recourse they have every right to suggest it's a conflict of interest," Buchholtz said.

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Austin, TX
Friday, July 10, 2015

The Texas Tribune

The pharmaceutical company Sanofi will fund up to $2.4 million a year in biomedical research at the University of Texas System under a deal announced Thursday, the latest in a trend toward more research funding from private industry as government research money dwindles.

But watchdogs say universities have to be vigilant to prevent conflicts of interest as such funding relationships become more common. Private funding for research at the UT System has grown nearly 30 percent in the last five years, administrators said.

"The kinds of questions that have to be asked, from a public perspective, are how broad is this agreement, and what kinds of things does it govern?" said Michael Santoro, professor of business ethics at Rutgers Business School. "What kinds of things is Sanofi getting for $2.4 million?"

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New York, NY
Wednesday, July 1, 2015

University Chronicle

The Ethisphere Institute, the global leader in defining and advancing the standard of ethical business practices, announced today the list of contributors to its latest publication, The World’s Most Ethical Companies Executive Briefing.

The quarterly Executive Briefing was launched in 2014 as an opportunity for CEOs, board members and other business leaders committed to the idea of the link between ethics and performance to share ideas and best practices with their peers around building a strong global culture of ethics.

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Psych Central
Newark, NJ
Saturday, May 23, 2015

Psych Central

In a new study, participants who anticipated a temptation to act unethically were less likely to give in to that temptation, compared to those who did not have the opportunity to think ahead.

The findings, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, may offer some insights into why some people succumb to ethical temptations rather than resist them.

“People often think that bad people do bad things and good people do good things, and that unethical behavior just comes down to character,” said lead research author Oliver Sheldon, Ph.D.

“But most people behave dishonestly sometimes, and frequently, this may have more to do with the situation and how people view their own unethical behavior than character, per se.”

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Hackensack, NJ
Thursday, May 7, 2015


Hackensack University Health Network officials were in discussions with CVS Health about expanding their partnership involving Minute Clinics when the moment came that assured Hackensack CEO Robert C. Garrett he had found the right partner:

CVS Health announced it was pulling all tobacco products from its stores.

“That was a real major consideration for us,” Garrett said. “If we’re going to talk the talk and walk the walk with population health and wellness and fitness and keeping the population healthy, we want to partner with an organization that really shares those beliefs.”

Garrett and Hackensack have made a number of partnerships with a variety of businesses and organizations in the past few years.

He told the audience last week at a conference in New Brunswick organized by the Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership that he looks at more than just the bottom line when picking partners.

“We look at our partners’ values, their culture to make sure there’s a consistency with what we stand for,” he said. “Strategic interest and strategic objectives are really important when you look at these types of affiliations or mergers, but I think the most important thing is cultural compatibility. It’s huge and it has to be foremost (in the discussion).”

Judy Young, the executive director of the institute, feels a cultural connection may be the most important consideration when reviewing a potential partner.

“It’s critically important when you are doing a merger and acquisition to do your due diligence beforehand,” she said. “If your values are not in synch, you are going to find that you are going to be a mismatch in every vein of business that you are trying to do with this organization. It’s critically important that you find out as much as you can about an organization’s values — not only what they have on the wall and what looks pretty, but what do they practice on a daily basis.”

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BNY Mellon
New York, NY
Tuesday, May 5, 2015

BNY Mellon

John Buckley, global head of corporate social responsibility (CSR) at BNY Mellon, presented the first ever BNY Mellon Social Finance Prize to a team of Rutgers Business School MBA students at recent breakfast event at the NYC Yale Club for the Aspen Institute’s recent annual Business & Society International MBA Case Competition. Created in partnership with the Aspen Institute, the prize encourages innovation in social finance, a field that encompasses investment activities with both financial returns and significant social impact.

The Rutgers student team’s recommendation focused on further developing existing guidelines to provide financial services companies with a corporate responsibility metric to evaluate performance in emerging markets. The students will work with an organization to implement their recommendation, and BNY Mellon will direct $15,000 to the organization to improve social responsibility standards.

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New Brunswick, NJ
Friday, May 1, 2015

The Daily Targum

The Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership held its 2015 Conference on Ethical Leadership on April 30 at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The institute anticipated over 200 conference attendees, including speakers from Johnson & Johnson and the Hackensack University Health Network.

"We see evidence in the news every day that ethical leadership is needed more than ever," Judy Young, the executive director of the Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership, told PR Newswire. "Our diverse programs provide several options to instill in leaders a deeper understanding of the correlation between ethical decisions and their organization's success."

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Voice of OC
Newark, NJ
Thursday, April 30, 2015

Voice of OC

The legal careers of two Orange County supervisors and whether they intersect with their public duties are raising questions among good government and ethics experts.

Supervisors Todd Spitzer and Shawn Nelson are both prominent local attorneys, and each report substantial income from their law firms on state-mandated disclosure forms. Spitzer has reported receiving up to $100,000 annually since he took office in January 2013, and Nelson more than $100,000 in each year since he become supervisor in 2010.

But beyond that, very little is publicly known about who their clients are, or more specifically, how their income is generated.

In large measure, these unknowns are due to the scope of the state's disclosure requirements. Elected officials in California who are also attorneys are generally required to list clients who paid their law practice at least $10,000 per year, if they’re the sole owner of the practice.  The dollar threshold is higher if they just have a partial ownership stake in the firm.

There are concerns that go beyond specific questions of reported income and/or ownership.

In Nelson’s case, a recent advertisement for Rizio & Nelson featured Nelson prominently, listing him as “of counsel” to the firm and his title as a county supervisor.

A leading government ethics expert says that while elected officials shouldn’t be penalized for “maximizing their honest income,” the ad doesn’t seem to pass the “sniff test.”

“At a certain point it’s just a matter of good form, or good taste,” said James Abruzzo, co-director of the Institute of Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School. “There are certain things that just don’t pass the sniff test, and I think that this just might be one of them.”

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Trenton, NJ
Monday, April 27, 2015

The news agency Reuters first reported that the consulting firm which employs Gov. Chris Christie’s brother, Todd, has won three state contracts since Todd started working for it two years ago. Others followed, some asking: Is there anything ethically or legally wrong with that?

"Todd Christie has a right to pursue a livelihood, even within the geographic area that his brother casts a large shadow on," Michael Santoro, a professor at the Rutgers Business School, told Bill Hangley of NewsWorks. Santoro said his initial look at the details of the story suggests that the state's code of ethics wasn't violated.

The governor should have disclosed the family connection when the contract was approved, Santoro said, instead of waiting for the media to find out about it.

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