Washington University names executive director of compliance and audit

Gail A. Peters has been appointed executive director of compliance and audit at Washington University in St. Louis, announced Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.

Peters, formerly the director of internal audit and university compliance officer at the university, will report to the chancellor and will oversee the Internal Audit Department and University Compliance Office.

Gail Peters

“Gail has been an excellent contributor to the university in these areas already,” Wrighton said. “My expectation is that these changes will permit Gail to assume a more direct and substantial role in assuring the effectiveness of regulatory compliance activities within the university community.”

These compliance activities include those by area-specific compliance offices — such as environmental health and safety, research and physician billing compliance — that perform ongoing monitoring to determine whether effective compliance is occurring in all activities governed by federal laws and regulations and by university policy in the areas they cover. They also develop policies and provide training and education to help ensure the university follows applicable laws and regulations.

“My job is to review the activities of the area-specific compliance offices to ensure they are sufficient,” Peters said, “plus to find out on a regular and frequent basis what compliance risks, problems, external audit scrutiny and other issues they are facing and help them address these concerns so the offices can be even more effective in serving the university.”

In addition to Peters’ position, which was newly created, the university will hire a new director of internal audit, who will report to Peters, and add two positions to the internal audit/compliance staff.

“These changes and Gail’s promotion will greatly enhance the university’s ability to identify and respond to emerging areas of compliance or internal controls concerns,” said Michael R. Cannon, J.D., WUSTL’s executive vice chancellor and general counsel. “Our ability to respond to external inquiries and audits in a professional, thorough and consistent manner is crucial in these days of increased oversight of higher education. Washington University will be well served by these changes.”

Peters joined the university in 1990 as director of internal audit and added the title of university compliance coordinator in 2000 — the same year WUSTL started its compliance program and became one of the first universities in the United States to do so. In 2005, she was promoted to director of internal audit and university compliance officer.

Before coming to the university, Peters worked as director of internal audit at Barnes-Jewish Hospital from 1985-1990 after serving as senior internal auditor at Barnes-Jewish from 1981-85. From 1978-1981, Peters worked as an accountant and then as an internal auditor at ITT Corp. in St. Louis.

Peters earned a bachelor of science degree in business in 1978 from Eastern Illinois University, where she majored in accounting and minored in management. She became a certified public accountant in 1983 and a certified internal auditor in 2000.