Remembering W. Michael Hoffman

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One of the founders of the business ethics movement, W. Michael Hoffman, PhD passed away on December 6, 2018 after a brief illness. All of us who work in ethics and compliance are indebted to Dr. Hoffman for his vision in creating many of the founding institutions of the ethics and compliance movement and for setting a personal example of tireless commitment to serving others.

Among Dr. Hoffman’s professional accomplishments are his founding of the Center for Business Ethics at Bentley University in 1976. In that same year, he organized the first National Conference on Business Ethics bringing together academics, business executives and government leaders. In 1992 he founded the Ethics Officer Association (EOA), the first cross-industry group to help ethics officers share best practices. As the first Executive Director of the EOA he created training programs for new Ethics Officers. To-date, the programs have helped nearly 1,000 professionals in their new careers. On the academic front, Dr. Hoffman published 15 books, over 100 articles, co-founded and edited business ethics journals and helped create the Society for Business Ethics.

While Dr. Hoffman’s professional legacy is remarkable, those of us who had the pleasure of knowing Mike will remember him in more personal ways. Mike was a friend and mentor to hundreds of Ethics Officers, executives and scholars from around the world. He was there when many of us were just starting our careers and he was always willing to listen and share advice when we needed his help and guidance. He never forgot that ethics is always about people; and this may be his greatest legacy. We will always remember Dr. Hoffman and he will be sorely missed.


Carrie Penman, Chief Compliance Officer and Senior Vice President, NAVEX Global;
Executive Fellow, W Michael Hoffman Center for Business Ethics at Bentley University and Former Deputy Director, Ethics Officer Association

Edward Petry, PhD, Senior Advisor, NAVEX Global;
Former Executive Director, Ethics Officer Association and Associate Professor, Bentley University


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