Category: General

The Objective of Due Diligence: To Protect Your Culture

There has been so much attention paid to due diligence. We have reams and reams of articles highlighting the importance of due diligence. In addition, numerous vendors of due diligence services and technologies fill the marketplace with whitepapers, articles and information underscoring the importance of due diligence and advising on how to conduct effective due diligence. There is nothing wrong with the attention paid to...

Tales from the Corporate Scandal Crypt: GM, VimpelCom, VW and Wells Fargo

We are fascinated by corporate scandals. Since the 1980s, the US public has enjoyed unraveling corporate scandals, and vilifying corporate leaders caught in the web of deceit and misconduct. I am sure there are historical trends and themes for US public reaction to corporate scandals and the political response to the scandal of the day. The US public is rightfully outraged over the Justice Department’s...

Compliance Missed Opportunities: CCOs and HR

A chief compliance officer can get overwhelmed with responsibilities and initiatives. CCOs have a never-ending to-do list – once an initiative is finished, the CCO has to jump to another “priority.” CCOs are responsible for operationalizing the company’s compliance program. The CCO’s success depends on the cooperation of related functions – procurement, legal, human resources, security, finance, internal audit, and information technology. While there has...

Financial Controls and Contract Management Systems

Compliance officers understand that a company’s greatest risks surround access to and use of money. A CCO has to understand a company’s financial controls, and in a perfect world, should have a seat at the table in the crafting and enforcement of such controls. A company faces serious harms, enforcement risks and collateral consequences from deficiencies in its financial controls. Sarbanes-Oxley requires public companies to...

Challenges in Transitioning from the Law to Compliance

The legal profession is undergoing significant changes. With an over-supply of attorneys and lower profits, lawyers are looking for new angles to distinguish themselves in the marketplace. In contrast, the compliance profession has grown in importance and opportunities. Unlike attorneys, companies are hiring compliance officers and salaries are increasing. As the demand for lawyers declines, more legal professionals are transitioning into the compliance field. In...

Ethics, Temptation and Money

A corporate entity is like its own community – it has a culture, a set of values and principles that form the foundation for the company’s operations, and an overall purpose. The interesting factor that has to be identified, assessed and addressed is that a corporate entity has to be profitable, or in other words, it has to make money. We often hear that a...

Focusing Antitrust Compliance Programs on the Real Criminal Risks (Part II of II)

As chief compliance officers realize the importance of criminal antitrust compliance, it is important to identify the real risk factors. All too often we get lost in the mumbo-jumbo (a technical term, I know) of compliance, tone-at-the-top, communication, training, and other obvious terms. While I often have suggestions on how to enhance a company’s risk assessment process, antitrust risks require precision and careful cost-benefit analysis....

Chief Compliance Officers Have to Address Criminal Antitrust Risks (Part I of II)

We often read articles and blog postings about anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, export controls and sanctions compliance issues. The focus on these topics is justified. However, there is one glaring omission – antitrust compliance programs. There are a number of reasons for this omission. First, the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division has been slow to credit companies for their compliance programs. For many years, the Antitrust Division...

Infusing Corporate Culture with Accountability

If you are a fan of Simon Sinek, you will understand and probably agree with the thrust of this posting. Sinek is a great motivational and business speaker. Many of his observations are spot-on and I would urge you to review some – here are some samples (here, here, here, and here). Getting back to the importance of accountability in a corporation, let’s start with...

German Auto Antitrust Cartel – A Record Enforcement Action Begins

Just when you thought it could not get any worse, events remind us that things actually can get worse. Volkswagen suffered through a horrible scandal involving an elaborate scheme to circumvent emissions regulations. The scandal rocked VW and slowly stretched to other German auto manufacturers, including Audi, BMW, Daimler and Porsche. It turns out that this coordination on the emissions testing equipment was just the...