Published: July 5, 2018

Acting chief compliance officer named for new MSU office

Contact(s): Emily Guerrant University Spokesperson office: 517-355-6560

Interim Michigan State University President John Engler appointed Nicholas Wittner to lead the university’s new Office of Enterprise Risk Management, Ethics and Compliance. Wittner is professor of law in residence at the MSU College of Law and an authority on organizational compliance.

“Professor Wittner’s deep background in legal, regulatory and policy compliance makes him the right person to set up our new office and develop the necessary reporting and training protocols,” Engler said. “We both are deeply committed to making MSU a model for regulatory compliance and for organizational accountability.”

Wittner is the new office’s acting director and the university’s chief compliance officer (CCO), effective immediately. His position reports to the president and includes regular independent reporting to the Board of Trustees through its newly established Committee on Audit, Risk and Compliance.

Michigan State’s CCO is charged with, among other matters, the development and implementation of a model program for promoting an ethical culture and legal compliance, including high-quality training and ensuring employees’ understanding of their compliance responsibilities; oversight of a confidential reporting structure for known or suspected violations of law or policy; and assuring the investigation, tracking and resolution of such complaints.

Wittner spent 20 years with Nissan North America’s legal department, where he helped develop a highly regarded safety and regulatory compliance program.

“That’s the achievement of which I’m most proud, establishing a compliance system that saves lives and helps prevent injuries,” Wittner said.

He previously served as a trustee of the California-based St. Joseph Health System where he was a member of both the Audit and Corporate Responsibility Committee and the Quality Committee. The large health care system has been recognized as a leader in quality and community service.

Wittner is a life member of the prestigious American Law Institute (ALI), signifying 25 years of service to the nation’s leading independent organization producing scholarly work to modernize and improve the law. He currently is part of a multi-year ALI project recommending standards and best practices in compliance and risk management law. More recently, he joined another ALI project, Student Sexual Misconduct: Procedural Frameworks for Colleges and Universities.

In addition to his work with the MSU College of Law, Wittner most recently served as counsel at the Dykema law firm where he was a member of its Government Investigations and Corporate Compliance Group. He earned a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from MSU and a law degree from the Wayne State University Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review.

Nicholas Wittner has been appointed to lead MSU's new Office of Enterprise Risk Management, Ethics and Compliance.