Citizens For A Better Norwood

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Xavier hosting Aaron Feuerstein on March 30

As part of its annual Heroes of Professional Ethics Series, Xavier University is hosting Aaron Feuerstein next Monday, March 30 in a free public lecture at the Cintas Center from 6:30-8:00. He appeared on 60 Minutes and was mentioned in a State of the Union address by President Clinton when his company, Malden Mills, burned to the ground in 1995. Feuerstein was the third generation owner of Malden Mills, which developed Polartec fleece. When other mills fled the U.S. for foreign soil, Feuerstein maintained his presence in Lawrence, MA. Even after the fire, instead of cashing a $200 million insurance check (from AIG, no less) for himself, he rebuilt there, and paid his 3,000 employees their entire salaries, during the rebuilding process.

But there’s more. He did not patent Polartec Fleece and his company went into bankruptcy. It came out of bankruptcy several years ago, but Feuerstein was no longer its owner. He is still battling to get the company back. This is one of the few positive and interesting business ethics stories about a very unique and spiritual man.

Aaron Feuerstein embodies the best of corporate leaders who are willing to risk their own finances for the benefit of other stakeholders," said Professor Paul Fiorelli, Director of the Cintas Institute for Business Ethics at Xavier University.

"I have a responsibility to the worker," Mr. Feuerstein told Parade Magazine in September 1996. "I have an equal responsibility to the community. It would have been unconscionable to put 3000 people on the streets and deliver a deathblow to the cities of Lawrence and Methuen. Maybe on paper our company is worthless to Wall Street, but I can tell you it's worth more."

Click here for a YouTube video about Aaron Feuerstein.