Northwestern University’s Figora Named RIMS Risk Manager of the Year

March 7, 2019

Luke Figora, senior associate vice president and chief risk and compliance officer at Illinois’ Northwestern University has been selected as the 2019 RIMS Risk Manager of the Year.

The RIMS Risk Manager of the Year program aims to raise the profile of the risk management profession and the outstanding programs the honorees have implemented within their organizations. The program was initiated in 1977 and the Risk Management Honor Roll was added in 1981.

David Stills, vice president, Global Risk Management for Walmart Inc., was named to the 2019 Risk Management Honor Roll.

“Building a strong risk management program demands a blended approach that effectively addresses exposures while also supporting new, value-generating initiatives,” RIMS CEO Mary Roth said in an announcement. “Luke Figora masterfully captures this focus at Northwestern University. His accomplishments have resulted in tremendous cost-savings and have paved the way for many wonderful educational opportunities for its students. It is an honor to present Mr. Figora with the prestigious Risk Manager of the Year award.”

Figora and Stills will be recognized at RIMS 2019 Annual Conference & Exhibition scheduled for April 28 through May 1 in Boston.

At Northwestern, Figora oversees a portfolio of risk governance operations, including risk management, internal audit, compliance, and environmental health and safety. He holds responsibility for the organization’s enterprise risk management (ERM) program and leads interaction with the Board of Trustees Audit, Risk, and Compliance Committee. Figora also manages a portfolio of business services, including procurement and payment services and auxiliary operations.

Figora’s innovation, opportunistic and forward-looking approach to risk finance and insurance has helped the university realize immediate success. He has demonstrated a focus on developing solutions and strategies that enable Northwestern’s business model, rather than impede.

Notable accomplishments include the risk management team’s role in the formation and ongoing success of Northwestern Prison Education Program at a local correctional facility, collaboration with athletic department leadership to ensure the safety of its student athletes, as well as the continuing rebuild of the university’s compliance program. Additionally, his command of Northwestern’s captive program solved an immediate grant-related issue that ultimately saved the university close to $1M.

Under his leadership, Northwestern’s ERM program combines risk awareness and transparency, with actionable operations on key risk issues. The program has helped make strides in the areas of athlete safety, minors on campus, venue security, crisis communications, conflict of interest, and Title IX. His ERM efforts are currently focused on embedding an expectation of escalation of key issues across a federated university, and improving the university’s process for handling investigations and issues that arise.

Figora strongly believes in mentoring. He continues to work with Northwestern Student Holdings NFP, helping its student members navigate risks associated with its business. Currently, Figora serves as the president of University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA) and has served on its board of directors since 2014.

Source: RIMS

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