Former tobacco research scientist to speak at Auburn University

AUBURN – Former tobacco company executive Jeffrey Wigand, who helped expose the industry’s knowledge of the dangers of smoking, will be a guest speaker in the Auburn University College of Business Nov. 3-8.

Wigand will serve as the college’s James T. Pursell Sr. Distinguished Fellow in Management Ethics and will address business classes throughout the week, including three which are open to the public. The open classes will be held in Lowder Business Building at 1 p.m. Wednesday in room 019; 12:30 p.m. Thursday in room 153; and noon Friday in room 019.

“His experiences are very eye-opening to the dangers of improper conduct in the workplace,” said Achilles Armenakis, Auburn professor of management ethics. “He will speak about business ethics and on the dangers of smoking. We encourage the community to join us for his talks.”

Wigand captured national attention in 1996 when he became the highest-ranking former tobacco executive to share what he knew about efforts to conceal the dangers of smoking from consumers. In an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes, Wigand claimed his former employer, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., had known that nicotine was addictive, in spite of Congressional testimony to the contrary.

Wigand, who has a Ph.D. in biochemistry, had been employed at Brown & Williamson as vice president of research and development for more than four years before being fired in 1993 under disputed circumstances. Following his dismissal, Wigand assisted the Federal Drug Administration and other government agencies in their investigation of the tobacco industry. His testimony helped bring about an estimated $250 billion settlement.

Today, Wigand devotes much of his time to his non-profit foundation, Smoke-Free Kids Inc., and travels the country speaking to students about the tobacco industry and its targeting of children in particular.

His visit to Auburn marks the seventh time he has served as the James T. Pursell Sr. Distinguished Fellow in Management Ethics. More information about his visit is available by calling (334) 844-6506.

Contact: Charles Martin, (334) 844-9999 (marticd@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)