Former Theology Teacher Preaches Business Ethics

Article excerpt

Byline: Allison Kaplan

One of the lesser-known consequences of the 1980s Ivan Boesky insider trading scandal is Frank Bucaro's unlikely transformation from moral theology teacher at St. Edwards High School in Elgin to nationally renowned business ethicist.

"I was just so amazed," Bucaro said of Boesky's high-profile illegal dealings. "Mainly, I couldn't believe that people didn't seem to understand how wrong he was. I wondered if corporate America was ready for something like this."

And without even knowing what fantastic scandals were to come, Bucaro decided to make a career change.

Bucaro, a Bartlett native and longtime Elgin resident, admittedly knew little about business. His master's degree is in religious studies. His experience was 18 years in a high school classroom.

Bucaro took a sabbatical and made a concerted effort to become business savvy. Mainly, he studied The Wall Street Journal.

His first break came when the owner of a Lake Forest bakery company happened to hear Bucaro perform a church confirmation service.

"He told me, 'Take God out of it,' and you could speak to our staff," Bucaro said.

Bucaro joined the National Speakers Association in 1985, as one of the organization's first experts on business ethics. He beat what has become a mad rush in the corporate world to champion morals and promote self-worth.

"There is an ethics gap in this country," Bucaro said, "between what I personally know is right and wrong and what it takes to be successful."

Of course, it's tough to talk about ethics these days without mentioning President Clinton. …