31 Days to More Effective Compliance Programs: Day 3 - Leadership’s Conduct At The Top

DAG Lisa Monaco's speech on FCPA enforcement and compliance laid out the very basics; the key to every company is culture. She stated, "corporate culture matters. A corporate culture that fails to hold individuals accountable, or fails to invest in compliance — or worse that thumbs its nose at compliance — leads to bad results."

From the enforcement perspective, the DOJ will be assessing companies for ethical cultures. From the compliance perspective, the ethical tone of a company and accountability all start at the top and, most specifically, senior management. This requirement is more than simply the ubiquitous "tone-at-the-top," as it focuses on the conduct of senior management. The DOJ wants to see a company's senior leadership doing compliance. The DOJ asks if company leadership has, through their words and concrete actions, brought the right message of doing business ethically and in compliance to the organization. How does senior management model its behavior on a company's values, and finally, how is such conduct monitored in an organization?

Three key takeaways:

1. Senior management must actually do compliance; not simply talk-the-talk of compliance but also walk-the-walk.
2. Use your CEO to talk about current events and how those ethical failures are lessons to be learned for your organization.
3. Your CEO as Compliance Ambassador.
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