Joe Berardino’s resignation from Arthur Andersen will not affect his status as a member of the Board of Trustees at Fairfield University.

Berardino, who had been with the Andersen for 30 years, resigned as the company’s worldwide CEO in the midst of a federal indictment against the company connected to the Enron scandal. He said he was leaving to prevent the firm’s collapse.

“I felt I had to take this step today to put an exclamation point behind the voices of our people… to say we are serious and we are a serious firm that deserves to continue here in the United States,” Berardino told CNN’s Moneyline show after resigning March 27th.

Andersen is facing obstruction of justice charges for allegedly destroying papers relating to the collapse of Enron, which filed for bankruptcy four months ago in the biggest ever US corporate failure. The case goes to court in Houston on May 6.

“Nothing has occurred to change my feelings about Joe Berardino or about his continuing service on the Fairfield University Board of Trustees,” said University President, Aloysius P. Kelley told The Mirror in an e-mail. “Of course, that decision is not mine to make, as members serve at the pleasure of the Board itself. Board Chairman Roger Lynch has told me that Board members value Joe’s contribution as a trustee and alumnus and look forward to his continuing to be an important member of its Finance Committee.”

Students, however, have mixed feelings on the issue.

“Berardino has provided amazing support to our school by actively recruiting from our accounting program,” said Eric Kaul, ’02, accounting major. “In this way he has actually put Fairfield University on the map, he has raised our accounting program to a level of prestige.”

“For a school that tries to promote high moral standards, I think it’s ridiculous that the man linked to one of the biggest scandals remains on our Board of Trustees,” said Lauren Blanchette,’04.

“He was smart in his decision to step down because he realized that Paul Volcker was going to be Andersen saving grace and he didn’t want to jeopardize the future of the firm,” said Kaul.

“In a lot of cases when things go bad, the person on top takes the hit,” said Robert Kravet, Assistant Professor of Accounting. “Berardino may be the wrong person taking the hit, those directly responsible for the problem should be taking responsibility. He may be better at helm of Anderson at this point considering his background and concern for ethical behavior.”

After a three-day board meeting, Andersen Worldwide partners chose Aldo Cardoso as their new acting chief executive. Cardoso, 46, joined Andersen in 1979 and became a partner in 1989. He faces the big challenge of trying to keep Andersen operations across the world afloat.

“His decision to resign his position was selfless and courageous, representing as it did his concern for thousands of Andersen employees and for the company’s survival rather than for his own well-being,” said Father Kelley.

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