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Meet John Cook

We are honored to introduce you to Mr. John M. Cook, retired chairman, chief executive officer and founder of PRG-Schultz International, Inc. and namesake of our school of business at Saint Louis University.


John Cook is a successful businessman and philanthropist. He and Lucy, his spouse of 43 years, are deeply committed to giving back and helping others succeed. In 1999, that desire to help others came in the form of a $5 million dollar gift to help construct John and Lucy Cook Hall. Today, Cook Hall is home to the MBA program, the Undergraduate Student Services office, the Boeing Institute of International Business, the Emerson Center for Business Ethics, private study rooms, high-tech classrooms and a light-filled atrium for group meeting, dining and study. In honor of his commitment to furthering education, our school of business was renamed the John Cook School of Business.

Cook earned an accounting degree from the school of business at Saint Louis University while working his way through college at Stix, Baer & Fuller. It was at this job that Cook honed his talents and made the discovery of a lifetime. While balancing the books for one of the company’s parking garages, Cook pinpointed a discrepancy. On his own time he researched the issue and turned up a $700 to $900 a day revenue shortfall traceable back to an employee skimming cash from the register.

Fast-forward to recent times, Cook was until his retirement in 2005 at the helm of Profit Recovery Group (PRG), which he founded in 1991. As the name implies, PRG provides auditing services to companies to help them recover lost profits. He guided PRG from a small enterprise with $5 million in annual revenues into an international, publicly held corporation with 2002 revenues of approximately $460 million. It is the world leader in recovery auditing, with operations in more than 40 countries and approximately 3,500 employees.

With headquarters in Atlanta, Cook is actively involved in the Atlanta community, serving on the board of trustees of the city’s Woodruff Arts Center and on the board of directors of the High Museum of Art. He is a member of the advisory board of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, The Carter Center’s board of councilors, and he serves as chairman of the board of SPI, a Mysore, India-based IT and business process outsourcing company specializing in solutions for retailers around the world.

Thanks to Mr. Cook and countless other friends, the school of business has more than doubled its original size. New tech savvy classrooms, private study spaces, a three-story atrium for meeting, eating and studying are just a few of the features that make SLU a great educational experience.