Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Trio of Ethics Articles from Business Week

Business Week has three articles related to ethics in their February 13 edition. "Defining the Role of an Ethics Monitor" interviews former SEC Chairman Richard Breedan (now with KPMG) on what an internal compliance officer can accomplish. Among Breedan's perspectives: compliance officers cannot prevent fraud but may be able to catch it while small and managable, ethics officers must have clout--junior management is not good enough and, by hiring him, KPMG is trying to avoid the Arthur Andersen fiasco. "Calling the Ethics Cops" tells about the increase in ethics compliance officers in an attempt to avoid the financial and reputational disaster of an ethics scandal. To work, companies must tighten ethics policies, upper management must be seen as at least as suspectible to ethics sanctions as lower levels of management and compliance officers must be fearless men or women who realize that they can be fired with little warning. "The New Ethics Enforcer" looks in depth at the work of Patrick Gnazzo of Computer Associates.

My first suggestion in regard to publicly-traded companies in regards to ethical behavior--whether or not the SEC, PCAOB or any other regulatory body has come to call. If Footnoted.org has a piece about your company and Michelle has not awarded the company a gold star--to paraphrase Jeff Foxworthy, you may have an ethics problem.


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