Category: General

The Person of the Year — the Chief Ethics Officer

To bring some continuity to my blog, I try to start the New Year off by acknowledging the significant person for the past year. Over the last three years, I recognized the Chief Compliance Officer, the Whistleblower and the Prosecutor, respectively, as the person of the year. This year I am recognizing the Chief Ethics Officer as the Person of Year. Many companies have embraced...

FCPA Predictions for 2015 (Part II of II)

The key to being a successful (FCPA) prognosticator is never to keep score. If you do, you are likely to be disappointed. Instead, I follow the strategy of calculated distraction – for example, I predicted last year that the Avon case would be settled.   Never mind the fact that some of my other predictions did not come true. I expect 2015 to be another big...

The FCPA Year in Review: Twist and Shout (Part I of II)

We all like annual reviews and predictions for the upcoming year – it is a New Year’s rite of passage and one that brings perspective and a sense of order to our otherwise chaotic lives. Call it what you want – 2014 was another big year for FCPA enforcement. That is the headline everyone will see and probably remember. Underneath the headline, there is much...

Pow! Whack! Slam! Bam! – DOJ Finishes the FCPA Year with a Bang

Giving away my old age, we all loved the 1960s Batman series starring Adam West. Thanks to the Batman show we were given a long list of words to underscore Batman and Robin’s slugfests with the weekly villain (e.g. Penguin, The Riddler and the Joker). See the list of exclamations here. The Justice Department finished the FCPA year 2014 in grand style, resolving two major...

The OECD Report: Shedding Light on Foreign Bribery

The OECD has been at the forefront of the global battle against corruption. Its recent report, Foreign Bribery Report (available here) the OECD provided important insights into the occurrence of foreign bribery. The report highlighted many important issues, some of which I address below, but make no mistake the global effort at anti-corruption enforcement is entrenched and growing. It is trite to say that global...

The “New Reality” for Corporate Boards

I have very little patience for a corporate board that fails to do its job. A board usually consists of talented, successful and experienced professionals. They have seen good and bad business practices in their days. Board members are paid well and are not forced to agree to serve. I know this is another in my list of profound grasps of the obvious but it...

Avenues for Reporting Employee Concerns

We all like to make things more complex or difficult than they need to be.   Consider that a life lesson that we can share with our children, assuming they are even listening to us these days. Compliance is a field that is easy to make overly-complex. The trick is to be effective and to keep it simple. I hear a frequent debate on whether a...

Gifts, Meals and Then . . . FCPA Enforcement

Life can be very humbling. The SEC has definitely humbled me. For years now, I have been claiming that companies spend too much time worrying about gifts, meals and entertainment expenses under the FCPA, rather than focusing on larger risks like multi-million dollar contracts with foreign governments. I have repeated this advice on numerous occasions. Now, I have to eat some humble pie. The SEC...

Adding Cyber Security to Corporate Risk Management

Corporate boards and senior management like to focus on business. They love the numbers, the strategy and the success of a business operation. They have a passion for it and that is why they are sitting on board or managing a global company. They do not like to talk as much about risks, much less plan for them. When it comes to information governance and...