International - Written by on Thursday, September 16, 2010 15:50 - 0 Comments

Its got to be in the DNA

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On Tuesday and Wednesday we attended the Legal Week Corporate Counsel Forum the premier in-house GC get together in Europe.

We ran a Bribery Act workshop…with a twist. We like to make learning and understanding the Bribery Act fun.

Barry joined a panel chaired by Peter Kurer (former chairman of UBS) and UK GC’s: Gerard Gent (Siemens) Roger Wiltshire (BAE Systems) and Chris Vaughan (Balfour Beatty).

This was a serious heavy weight panel who know a thing or two about dealing with and putting in place effective anti bribery and corruption systems and controls.

Today these companies represent the gold standard in anti-corruption compliance.

Although the panel and its composition is public who said what isn’t.

The discussion was under the Chatham House Rule.

Some key themes to emerge.

The tone from the top is critical. The CEO and Board must be fully committed with financial resource and time set aside to drive the message down through the company. A Director should be responsible for compliance and should be on the Board. Compliance is front and centre on the agenda.

Put another way. The ethics culture of the company has to be in the organisation’s DNA. From the top to the bottom.

Middle management are critical standard bearers for the business. A stark reminder of the responsibility everyone in and outside (because your business partners must share your ethical DNA) the organisation shares provided by the mid level manager who received a 12 month sentence in the UK.

The conclusion was bright. Customers will be attracted to you, and your business will be stronger, when your business has strong business ethics.

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