Chief ethics and compliance officer to retire

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Regis Becker, Penn State’s first director of university ethics and compliance, and chief ethics and compliance officer (CECO), has announced his retirement effective June 30. In his five years at Penn State, Becker has built a comprehensive university ethics and compliance program, overseeing athletics integrity, export controls, university ethics, youth programs, and the university’s ethics and compliance hotline.

Penn State will conduct a national search for Becker’s replacement, and will name interim leadership in the coming months.

Regis has done a remarkable job at Penn State, building a fulsome ethics and compliance operation that has become a reference point for many other universities,” said David Gray, Penn State’s senior vice president for Finance and Business. “We wish Regis well in his retirement. Along with the excellent team of professionals he has assembled in the Office of Ethics and Compliance, we will continue to build and maintain a premiere program reflective of Regis’ legacy of success.”

Becker began his work at Penn State in 2013. Since that time he has built a team whose responsibilities and achievements include: the creation of a comprehensive compliance training program for all university employees, including institutional ethics and child abuse prevention training; university-wide efforts to confront workplace climate issues and to encourage reporting of wrongdoing, including a four-fold increase in reports to the Penn State Hotline; periodic distribution of the comprehensive Penn State Values and Culture Survey, whose 2014 results led to the creation of the institution-wide Penn State Values; compliance efforts focused on youth programs; and establishment of a university-wide export compliance program, among many other initiatives. Becker was one of a number of university leaders assigned to implement the recommendations of the Freeh Report.

Becker and his team also have played a key role in helping to facilitate the work of the Board of Trustees’ Committee on Legal and Compliance, and led in the creation of Penn State’s university-wide compliance plan.

“It has been an honor to serve Penn State in my role as chief ethics and compliance officer, and to have played a small role in the enormous effort to transition the university toward comprehensive ethics and compliance programs,” Becker said. “I have had the privilege of working with a stand-out team of professionals whose daily efforts advance best interests of our students, faculty, staff and visitors. Their dedicated work, combined with support from Penn State’s senior leadership and board of trustees, has led to the creation of a robust ethics and compliance program that serves as a national model for other universities.”

When he began at Penn State, Becker was among only a handful of CECOs at universities nationally. In the intervening years, Becker his team have served in an advisory role for counterparts across the country as other universities have formalized their own ethics and compliance programs.

Prior to his arrival at Penn State, Becker served as chief compliance officer for PPG Industries, a global Fortune 250 company with headquarters in Pittsburgh. After joining PPG in 1992, Becker advanced through a series of corporate security and risk management roles to earn oversight of all global compliance efforts in 2009. He led the company’s global ethics and compliance program, with responsibility for developing and updating a global code of ethics, oversight of related training and certification of the company’s nearly 40,000 employees, and supervision of compliance auditing and monitoring efforts. He also managed the company’s crisis response unit, which ensures PPG sets appropriate protocols and follows them to quickly mitigate external and internal threats and events.

His prior experience includes work as an FBI special agent, as a detective in the Allegheny County, Pa., district attorney's white-collar crime unit, manager of special investigations with Union Carbide Corp., and director of corporate security for Praxair, Inc. A 1978 Penn State graduate with a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement, Becker earned his juris doctorate from the Duquesne University School of Law in 1983.

Becker currently serves on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Center for SafeSport. He also is an active member of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI and the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics.

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