Former CEO turned criminal, Aaron Beam, speaks at UNK Ethics Week

Aaron Beam
Aaron Beam

UNK Communications

KEARNEY – Aaron Beam had one of those great career success stories.

He built a health care company from the ground up, took it public in two years and became a millionaire overnight. His company, HealthSouth, was the darling of Wall Street.

But Beam’s story took a dramatic turn, as he found himself in the middle of a corporate scandal and ended up in prison.

The former chief financial officer of HealthSouth, Beam is the featured speaker at University of Nebraska at Kearney’s Ethics Week. His presentation “Ethics First” is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday (March 7) at the Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room. The event is free and open to the public.

Beam will share the HealthSouth story and explain why corporate frauds happen. He outlines in detail individuals involved in the case, how they participated, and the reason for their actions. He will also discuss useful examples for developing strong ethical character and how to improve the integrity of your company or organization.

“Not only will students hear firsthand about how ethics is relevant in industry, they will be challenged with a real-world account of what happens when the leaders of organizations fail to do the right thing and put ethics first,” said event coordinator Noel Palmer, assistant professor of management.

Beam was the first CFO at HealthSouth, and as a co-founder witnessed firsthand the series of accounting, stock manipulation and leadership failures that led the corporation to the billion securities fraud scandal.

He relates to students and professionals the heights of success, followed by the unethical and illegal mistakes that led to his professional downfall federal prison sentence.

UNK Ethics Week Keynote Address
“Ethics First”
Presenter: Aaron Beam, former chief financial officer, HealthSouth
Time: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Date: Tuesday, March 7
Place: Nebraskan Student Union, Ponderosa Room
Host: College of Business and Technology
Sponsor: The Baldwin Free Enterprise Lecture Series


Writer: Todd Gottula, Director of Communications, 308.865.8454,
Source: Noel Palmer, Assistant Professor Management, 308.865.8678,