Category: General

Reinvigorating Corporate Board Governance to Embed a Culture of Ethics and Compliance

“It is Time” – Rafiki, The Lion King Corporate scandals continue to rack up – I am not just blowing smoke on this fact. Corporate boards are under greater scrutiny but the hardest place to bring reform is the corporate boardroom. Old institutions do not change quickly and there is an inherent resistance to change when it comes to a corporate boardroom. The old dynamic...

Building a Due Diligence Infrastructure (Part IV of IV)

A due diligence infrastructure is designed to demonstrate a company’s good faith commitment to compliance with anti-corruption laws by: identifying corruption risks; and mitigating such risks to ensure that the company does not violate the law. A much simpler way to put it is – a company’s due diligence system is designed to negate any inference of intent to violate the FCPA.   A due diligence...

Due Diligence and Risk Priorities (Part III of IV)

Believe it or not, life principles can be used in compliance, especially in due diligence. I always tell my kids that life has a way of setting priorities. As you get older, life becomes simpler and your priorities become clearer. Now watch this transition – the same goes for due diligence, not the age part but the priorities part. Once you assemble information and data...

Focusing on Due Diligence (Part II of IV)

He that can have patience can have what he will. – Benjamin Franklin Putting together an effective due diligence system requires patience. I freely admit that I am not a patient person, especially when it comes to ensuring ethics and compliance. By definition, however, effective compliance strategies require patience due to the scope and scale of the changes being implemented across a company. Due diligence is...

Getting Started on Due Diligence of Third Parties (Part I of IV)

This week I am posting a series on due diligence.  Also, I just released a new e-book on due diligence which can be downloaded here. There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded. – Mark Twain In a former life (or even present life), Mark Twain had to...

Asking the Right Questions: How to Measure Corporate Culture

As a federal prosecutor with lots of trial experience, I generally know what questions to ask a witness or a defendant.  In the compliance arena, there is much more leeway in how and what questions you ask. Many companies conduct employee surveys. These surveys are usually administered by human resources across the organization every year or two. I do not oppose these surveys but recommend...

Business Ethics as an Effective Control

Integrity has no need of rules. – Albert Camus Corporate decision-making ignores important principles and sometimes, common sense. With the increase in corporate compliance programs, corporate boards and senior executives need to take a moment to address one important issue – the importance of creating an ethical culture. For some reason, corporate boards and leaders like to focus on the tangible aspects of ethics and...

Dissecting a Bribery Violation: Two Important Questions to Answer

In the wreckage of a corporate FCPA enforcement action, a company has to answer two important questions. First, how did the conduct occur without senior executives and the Board learning or suspecting that such conduct was occurring or could occur? Second, how did the wrongdoers obtain access to the money needed to fund the bribery scheme? I know these two questions are fairly obvious, but...

Yates and Outsourcing Government Investigations

The Justice Department’s recent Yates memorandum on individual accountability is a significant event. Sure, you can always find members of the FCPA Paparazzi who will discount the memo, or relegate it to a mere “political” statement. That view is unfortunate and ignores the real implications of the Yates memo. Such a viewpoint also shows how little members of the FCPA Paparazzi understand the true inner...

Five Requirements for Organizational Justice

Ethical companies, by definition, have a robust system for internal organizational justice. A company that suffers from unequal treatment of similarly situated executives, managers, and employees cannot maintain an ethical culture. Unequal justice will undermine  employee morale, reporting of misconduct, and overall productivity rapidly. Cynicism breeds contempt, and there is nothing like employee discontent when it comes to the sustainability of corporate productivity. To ensure...