Tagged: Company culture

CCOs: Living in the Land of False Promises

We all have heard the scenario involving a compliance professional. A new CCO joins a company with promises from the board, the CEO and senior executives of cooperation, compensation and support for a robust independent compliance function. The new CCO arrives with an idealistic spirit only to discover that he or she has been misled. Sure, the CCO has a title, and a nice salary,...

A Teaching Moment Inside VimpelCom’s Boardroom

The VimpelCom FCPA settlement underscored the importance of Compliance 2.0 and the need to reform board deliberations and governance. No one can read the facts without shaking their heads and asking – what was the VimpelCom board thinking? The VimpelCom board’s failure to act reflects the key driving force inside the corporate boardroom – defense. When a company is not being led by the board...

PTC Settlement: Compliance Reminders for Internal Controls, Travel and Gifts

PTC, a Massachusetts software company, reached settlements with the SEC and DOJ last week for FCPA violations for a total of $28 million. Interestingly, the SEC announced a DPA with a PTC official who assisted in the investigation. DOJ also reappeared on the FCPA enforcement radar with a non-prosecution agreement and collection of a $14 million fine. The SEC reached a $14 million settlement with...

The Force Awakens: Vimpelcom’s FCPA Settlement and the Wreckage Left Behind (Part II of II)

The Vimpelcom FCPA enforcement action is stunning in its breadth and the brazen nature of the bribery scheme. It is hard to accept that such conduct stretched into 2011 to 2013, given the significant emphasis placed on anti-corruption enforcement in the corporate governance world. It is easy to ask but hard to imagine how many other major companies are operating with such flimsy attention to...

Writing Effective and Clear Compliance Policies

In the press of compliance priorities, chief compliance officers have to prioritize what is important and what is not. In some respects, the task of a CCO is a continuous loop of prioritizing tasks. CCOs know that the job is never done – once a set of tasks is done, there is always a new list of tasks that need to be prioritized. One of...

Embedding the Compliance Message in Middle Management

Chief compliance officers and senior executives wrestle with strategies to spread and embed important compliance messages. A CEO and senior executives can spread a compliance message but they are always battling competing priorities in the overall direction and operation of the company. Nonetheless, we all have seen senior managers who are dedicated to promoting a compliance program, particularly in these days of aggressive enforcement. CCOs...

Fraud and Bribery: Segregation of Duties

Some things go together. Chocolate chip cookies and milk, Hepburn and Tracy, Lewis and Martin (I know, I am showing my age, but you get the point), and many other favorite combinations. So, you get the point – in the world of anti-bribery compliance, and another in my series of profound grasps of the obvious – fraud and bribery go hand in hand. One of...

How to Keep Your Whistleblower(s) “Happy” (or Satisfied)

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony – Mahatma Gandhi Happiness is an elusive concept – for some. For others who may be more enlightened or lived for years, happiness is a feeling that can be attained by commitment, determination and awareness.  My keys to happiness are love, gratitude and empathy. Some people are “content” being...

Defining Business Ethics

One of the more frustrating topics for discussion is defining business ethics. It is frustrating to see how complex and unhelpful the discussion turns when defining business ethics. I have two tests for how to deal with this issue. Do you use simple terms that can be easily communicated internally in a company? Do the terms embrace the kind of values important to the company?...

The Person (Idea) of the Year – Corporate Ethics and Culture

Each year I have identified the so-called “person” of the year to capture the most significant enforcement and compliance trend. In the past, I have given the award to the Chief Compliance Officer, the Ethics Officer, the Prosecutors, and others. This year is not an easy choice. In my view, there have been three significant events or trends, each of which could easily be named...