Category: General

Insights from Recent NAVEX Global and KPMG Surveys

Chief compliance officers are always hungry for benchmarking data, for comparisons and insights around how their respective compliance programs stack up against other companies, especially in the same industry.  Compliance professionals, as a general rule, are collaborative and willing to share information with each other.  CCOs are an optimistic lot and enjoy sharing best practices, ideas and insights in order to further the ethics and...

The Challenge of Technology and Data

Ethics and compliance programs face a rapidly approaching crossroads. Technology and data have created significant pressure on CCOs to harness innovation.  This is a major opportunity for improvement but it also creates real risks.  Chief compliance officers have to carefully tailor the transition to automated platforms and building of data management capabilities. The key to this effort is focus and simplicity.  When CCOs overthink, they...

Pipeline Company Pays $35 Million to Settle Criminal and Civil Environmental Violations for Inland Spill of Oil Drilling Generated Water

In a significant environmental crime enforcement action, the Justice Department resolved criminal charges under the Clean Water Act against Summit Midstream Partners LLC, a North Dakota pipeline company that discharged 29 million gallons of water of produced water from its pipeline near Williston, North Dakota. In addition to the criminal resolution, the United States and the States of North Dakota resolved civil charges against Summit...

The Dangers of a Fractured C-Suite

All for one and one for all – The Three Musketeers motto – Alexander Dumas We all know the importance of teamwork and collaboration. Whatever the context, sports, business, military, and many other situations, teamwork and cooperation is essential to success. Our political system, however, is not a model for cooperation or bipartisanship.  In the face of these tensions, it becomes harder to maintain a...

5 Common Internal Investigation Pitfalls

An internal investigation is like reading a good novel.  You begin the journey with a general expectation of what the novel or the “investigation” is about.  As every reader knows, the exhilaration is the result of following an unexpected path filled with moments of discovery, surprise and ultimately a basis for understanding.  Internal investigations can follow a similar path.  In some cases, the end of...

SEC Approves Nasdaq Board Diversity Proposal

The growing demand for increased diversity on corporate boards passed another hurdle.  The SEC approved to Nasdaq’s proposed rule changes to mandate increased board diversity requirements.  Three SEC Commissioners, including Chairman Gensler, approved the measure, and one Republican commissioner opposed the measure.  The other Republican commissioner supported the proposal only in part. Under the new Nasdaq rules, listed companies would have to meet minimum targets...

Remediating the Organization’s Culture (Part IV of IV)

“The truest measure of an effective compliance program is how it responds to misconduct.”— FCPA Guidance (2d. ed 2020) This straight-forward statement (above) of a company’s commitment to its “effective” compliance program is powerful.  In a nutshell, it says it all. Over the years as a federal prosecutor, and later as outside counsel, I have witnessed a variety of responses to misconduct.  On the one...

Measuring and Reporting on the Organization’s Culture (Part III of IV)

While the value of a positive corporate culture is clear, a strong culture does not always develop organically. Companies must devote attention to measuring, managing, and promoting ethical cultures. Let’s start with a simple proposition – if a company’s culture is its most important internal control and its most valuable intangible asset, a chief compliance officer (CCO) should devote commensurate time and energy to promote...

Communicating and Embedding the Organization’s Culture (Part II of IV)

An organization’s culture does not exist in a vacuum.  It is communicated and executed every day.  It is the guidepost by which internal and external interactions occur and is carried out by individuals in a multitude of tasks.  If you stop to consider the number and nature of daily interactions, internally and externally, carried out by leadership, managers and employees, it is overwhelming (especially if...

Practical Approaches to Managing Culture: Defining the Organization’s Mission (Part I of IV)

The culture bandwagon is picking up steam.  Everyone is citing its organization’s “culture” as the foundation for its activities in the hope of meeting a rapidly evolving standard for organizations.  In its latest corporate compliance guidance, the Justice Department, along with numerous regulatory agencies, continue to cite the importance of a company’s  “culture of compliance.” But when it comes to defining the terms, how to...