Deputy Chairman, Group President & Chief Executive Officer,
Global Head & Practice Leader – Investigation & Forensics Audit,
Adjunct Faculty/Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland, Robert Smith School of Business,
Guest Faculty/Invited Professor, Rutgers University, School of Business,
English, Portuguese and Spanish bilingual
982 Rua Afonso Celso, Sala 64
Sao Paulo, SP 04119-060, Brasil
11710 Plaza America Drive, Suite 300
Reston, VA 20190-6706, United States
Ariel Ramirez (American Citizen) is Global Head and Practice Leader of the Corporate Investigation and Forensics advisory practice, which is composed of the following expert teams: Special Investigation; Forensic Accounting; Fraud Examination; Anti-Bribery/Corruption/FCPA; Intelligence; and Financial Crimes. He is based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he resides with his wife and son.
He concurrently serves the firm as Group President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with ultimate responsibility for the firm’s global P&L, sales and revenue generation, global operations, including all corporate functions, and domestic and international expansion. On July 1, 2021, Ariel was appointed to in addition serve as Deputy Chairman of the Board and works in the Chairman’s office on corporate strategy and compliance as well as executive governance.
With leadership presence and residing in the Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New York metro areas; Miami; Houston; Austin; Atlanta; Columbus; Tampa; Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Quito, Ecuador; Bogota, Colombia; Mexico City; Brisbane, Australia; and Cologne, Germany, the firm principals are repeatedly sought-after in high stakes forensic, integrity services and special investigation, as well as risk, security/executive protection, litigation support, and compliance advisory services. They have worked for or served the world’s largest, most recognized, and respected companies. Together, RKA multi-lingual leaders some which are certified public accountants, accredited business valuators, certified internal auditors and certified fraud examiners, others certified in financial forensics, project management, audit leadership, government and information systems audit, and risk management, licensed attorneys, and personal protection specialists. We have decades of experience as former Fortune 30 senior executives, including CEOs and Board/Audit Committee members, Big4 accounting firm partners, external and internal auditors, compliance advisors, protection and intelligence community personnel, United States federal prosecutors, and state and federal American and foreign law enforcement and armed forces commissioned officers.
As criminal and civil matter lead investigator, forensic accountant, fraud examiner, internal auditor, and compliance crisis manager, Ariel has worked on the ground in Spain, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Mexico, South Africa, Greece, Canada, Russia, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, and Jordan.
In addition to leading the global investigations and forensic practice on a daily basis, Ariel also has ultimate oversight of the following advisory practices: Cyber Forensics, Electronic Evidence and eDiscovery; Litigation Support and Expert Services; Executive Protection and Security Advisory; Compliance and Ethics; and Government Contracts Investigation & Litigation Support.
Ariel, a veteran and former enlisted Marine and Naval Officer, is an international subject matter leader in special investigation, financial crimes, anti-bribery/corruption, economic sanctions, complex white-collar multi-national/cross border investigation, fraud, compliance, money laundering, and government enforcement, including parallel actions investigative support. He is native bilingual in Spanish and fully fluent in Portuguese, lived/worked overseas on international expatriate executive roles, and able to relate with various cultures and geographies.
He has provided beginning-to-end client engagement management and investigative services in FCPA and other anti-corruption/bribery issues, AML/BSA, staff and executive misconduct, procurement, eDiscovery and data analytics, risk management, internal controls, litigation support, ethics program development and due-diligence in the defense, healthcare, oil, gas and power, energy, financial services, manufacturing, and other industries. He has served the Fortune 500, private entities, multilateral institutions and development banks, federal agencies, royal families and offices, and foreign governments.
Ariel worked on the world’s largest compliance/corruption matters and/or related monitorships and testing, including gap analysis, loan covenant violations, cost/revenue analysis for disaster recovery claims, and compliance program review/risk assessments. He led forensic and internal control major engagements, for example but not limited to:
- FCPA Americas investigator in the Siemens (publicly traded, $100B, 500,000 employees, 300 manufacturing plants at the time) global corruption scandal, up to today the world’s largest fraud and corruption investigation in history in terms of combined government fines, professional fees spent, and accounting disgorgement, as well as global scale in terms of locations;
- In the Fannie Mae (publicly traded, securitizes mortgage-backed securities, 21st on the Fortune 500) investigation, where he lead a regulatory independent review of Fannie Mae’s internal audit office and the actions of its former Chief Audit Executive, with the report reported to US congress by the team lead expert;
- In a due-diligence of a major construction engagement, related to the world’s second largest fraud investigation, of Petrobras, the Brazilian oil giant Lavajato case, investigating / reviewing Brazilian Oderbrecht SA, the biggest engineering company in Latin America ($25B in revenues, chemicals, engineering, aerospace, environmental engineering, petrochemicals, ethanol, real estate, infrastructure, defense, transportation industries);
- In shadow audits also in the Petrobras Lavajato investigation of Brazilian Braskem’s bribery scandal ($14B in revenue, America’s fourth petrochemical company and 17th in the world);
- Directly contracted by the FBI as part of a larger financial crimes investigations team for evidence-discovery preparation support on racketeering and money laundering charges brought by the FBI against a Vanuatu-based offshore bank, and its American CEO, which allegedly marketed national lotteries overseas, running a scam, and pocketing the money/not paying the winnings;
- Lead investigator for bribery, corruption, tax fraud, money laundering, drug spoilage and manipulation, and other misconduct allegedly committed by pharmaceutical’s company CEO in a South American country;
- PPP SBA Cares Act loan review team leader for fraud, abuse and other violations on PPP loans exceeding a principal of $2 million dollars;
- Forensic recovery investigations team member of large healthcare system having received COVID disaster assistance and filing loss of revenue and other lost income claims;
- Worked on matters with ultimate team deliverables to Congress, US Departments of Justice and Labor, Securities Exchange Commission, and Postal Service. This included support engagements in the context of criminal/civil allegations/actual fraud and other misconduct; and,
- Held roles in other large confidential global matters including under the United Kingdom Bribery / Brazil clean company acts, Colombian Anti-Bribery Statue, and similar laws in other countries
Ariel is comfortable interacting at any level, staff to Board, and sensitive to company dynamics in executing work. For example, Ariel works with risk functions, audit committees, domestic/international police, Boards of Directors, CEO/CFOs, and in-house / outside legal counsel, including major international law firms. His prior responsibilities include:
- Managing Director/Latin America desk leader for BDO USA LLP, where he coordinated forensic investigation and white-collar crime defense and civil matter litigation support services, amongst 15 countries member firms, and the US firm
- International assignment and Partner at Berkeley Research Group (USA), senior member of the Global Investigations / Intelligence practice, and the firm’s LATAM senior management team; sent on international expatriate assignment to serve as BRG’s Managing Director – Brazil (Country Co-Head)
- International assignment as Head of Colombia, Deloitte Forensics, as well as concurrently served as FCPA services practice Leader for Deloitte, focusing on Spanish South America (all countries except Brazil)
- Served as Forensic Audit Executive/Senior Director of Internal Audit and Special Investigations head for the Americas at Siemens joining at the onset of an internal investigation of law violation allegations by US, German and other foreign regulators. He helmed worldwide internal forensic audits in three different global work streams and led hundreds of subject interviews/interrogations
- Was director of internal audit and head of special investigations for Siemens USA responsible for North America where he provided enhancements to the global internal control, anti-fraud, AML, and ERM methodologies
- Additional Leadership roles: (1) with the Global CAE to reorganize Siemens 750-person global internal audit function, opening agile internal audit/forensic investigation local hubs in Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Beijing, Moscow, Dubai, Singapore, Johannesburg, and Munich with staff offices in Buenos Aires, Bogota and Iselin, NJ; (2) in-charge of forensic audit recruiting globally, and (3) in charge of forensic audit training globally
- Served as Latin America special investigation regional team leader for IBM Corporation (revenues of US$79B, ranked 34 on the Fortune 500) global internal audit division, where he led major fraud, other corruption and FCPA internal investigations as well as provided levels 1, 2 and 3 due-diligence in support of M&A transactions where IBM was the purchaser
- And in leadership roles with KPMG LLP and ERNST & YOUNG LLP (respectively the world’s second and fourth largest public accounting firms in the world), including as engagement manager for major client, the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with fieldwork in Washington, DC and in Saudi Arabia
EDUCATION, CERTIFICATIONS, AND LANGUAGE/OTHER SKILLS
- M.B.A., International Business, Tampa College
- B.S. / A.S., Computer Information Science – Cum Laude; Director’s Honor Roll; Dean’s list; and other academic awards for high academic achievement and grades, Tampa College
- Held Department of Defense national Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmentalized Information (TS/SCI) clearance, with polygraph
- Fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese
- Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
- Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
- Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA)
- Certified in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA)
- Certified Government Audit Professional (CGAP)
- Certification in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA)
- Certified Internal Controls Auditor (CICA)
- Professional, Academy of Healthcare Management (PAHM)
- John Reid and Wicklander-Zulawski’s Techniques of Interview and Interrogation, Basic/Advanced
- Marine Corps Basic Training, Parris Island, SC; graduated top 2%
- Marine Corps Engineering School, Camp Lejeune, NC; class honorman/top graduate
- Marine Corps NCO and Staff NCO Leadership Academies, Marine Corps Institute, Quantico, VA
- Navy Officer’s Candidate and Leadership School (DCO), Pensacola, FL
- Navy Supply Corps and Logistics/Contracting Officer’s School, Athens, GA
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS / BOARDS
- Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, CFE Member (ACFE)
- Institute of Internal Auditors, CIA Member (IIA)
- Institute of Internal Controls, CICA Member (IIC)
- On the board of advisors of the Economic Crime and Cybersecurity Institute, Utica College in New York, where he chairs the board’s governance committee
- Was formerly chapter president, board chairman, and board member of the Northern Virginia, USA, chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors, one of the world’s largest chapters (under his leadership as President, he took actions which led to double attendance at monthly meetings)
- Was formerly board member of the Brazil chapter of the ACFE
- Was formerly founding member, chapter president, board chairman, and board member of the Colombia ACFE chapter (led the formation of Colombia’s first ever ACFE chapter, leading all formation and administrative topics, including handling matters with global headquarters, selection of the first ever Board and Officers)
UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES SERVICE
Concurrent with his corporate executive career, he served in the US armed forces military reserves, graduated from Marine Corps recruit depot in Parris Island, and recipient of multiple early merit promotions. Following enlisted service, graduated from Navy officer’s school in Pensacola and Supply Corps officer’s school, and served as a reserve commissioned officer in the Navy Supply Corps, specializing in combat logistics/acquisition assigned to the Pentagon.
Ariel is a multiple times award-winning adjunct professor and corporate investigation/fraud examination instructor at the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business (consistently rated as a top-tier MBA/business school in the USA), where he designed the original graduate level forensic audit curriculum (a required core course for graduation). He was appointed as adjunct faculty member in 2007.
While RKA Worldwide Group LLC (USA) and RKA Worldwide do Brasil Consultoria and companies in formation, RKA Worldwide de Colombia SAS, RKA Worldwide de Argentina SA, and RKA Worldwide Security and Protection LLC, may employ, associate and/or contract with attorneys and CPAs, we are not public accounting firms nor law firms nor are we registered as such.