Category Archives: Culture

What happens when the boss gets jailed?

This blog tends to mention cases where senior executives get (or don’t get) punished for their alleged misdeeds.  The spin is often that the seniors don’t get punished as hard as the worker bees.

But what happens when the CEO gets put in jail for his or her alleged misdeeds, which may have led to under-reporting in the company’s financials for the past five years?

“Carlos Ghosn’s Arrest Rocks Auto Empire,” The Wall Street Journal, November 21, 2018 (online).  Nissan’s CEO jailed for allegedly under-reporting his earnings by several tens of millions of dollars.

How do you explain this to the worker bees?  What’s the culture at the top?  How did the Board not catch this?  Were there not controls in place?  Might the shareholders be a bit upset?

More a Governance and a Compliance issue, perhaps, although if one looks, one could find some information-related failures.

 

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Filed under Board, Compliance, Compliance (General), Compliance Verification, Controls, Corporation, Culture, Culture, Data quality, Directors, Duty, Duty of Care, Governance, Internal controls, Oversight, Oversight

How much due process is due?

“CBS to Weigh CEO’s Fate,” The Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2018 A1.  Discussion over whether CEO accused of sexual harassment should stand down while the investigation continues.

Curious that Urban Meyer has to stand aside while an investigation into whether he should have reported domestic abuse by an assistant coach 9 years earlier at a different school, but Leslie Moonves remains on board as the CEO of CBS.  See https://infogovnuggets.com/2018/08/07/caesars-wife/

What does it say about a company’s culture when, in the current environment, the CEO can remain in his job during such an investigation?  How convinced are the rank-and-file employees that the sexual harassment policy is real, or just a piece of paper?  Are the directors serious about this policy?  What about other policies?

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Filed under Board, Compliance, Compliance, Compliance (General), Corporation, Culture, Culture, Directors, Duty, Employees, Governance, Oversight, Oversight, Policy

A billion here, a billion there

Eventually, you’re talking real money.

“Volkswagen Fined $1 Billion in Germany,” The Wall Street Journal, June 14, 2018 B4. Fine for “dereliction of management oversight” following the diesel emissions-testing scandal.  Somewhat broader than a Caremark claim.

Will the directors have to pay anything out of their pockets?  Or just their shareholders’ pockets?

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Filed under Board, Compliance, Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Corporation, Culture, Culture, Directors, Duty, Governance, Internal controls, Oversight, Oversight

What’s your word worth?

Gosh, it happened again!

“Facebook Gave Out User Data Despite Pledge,” The Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2018 A1. Notwithstanding a commitment not to do so, Facebook continued to give some companies access to user information.

How many times can you lie before people call you a liar?  Or take judicial notice?  What is the culture at Facebook?  Who’s responsible?  Accountable?

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Filed under Access, Board, Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Corporation, Culture, Culture, Duty, Duty of Care, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Oversight, Ownership, Privacy, Protect assets

Multiple policies

“Starbucks Takes as Break For Its Antibias Training,” The Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2018 B2. Starbuck’s shuts down for several hours to train its employees on what “bias” means.  Response to incident when two men were arrested for refusing to either buy something or leave the store.  Cost: $10 million and counting.

While some may view this as a large publicity stunt, or post-crisis communication/image repair, others may see it as a strong statement of what Starbuck’s culture is or will be.  Starbuck’s also changed its policy of not allowing non-customers to sit in its stores and use its restrooms.

What happens when you have one policy (no bias) that conflicts with another policy (restrooms for customers only)?  How are employees supposed to know which policy to follow?

Does your company have policies that conflict with one another?

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Filed under Board, Communications, Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Culture, Culture, Duty, Employees, Governance, Internal controls, Oversight, Policy

Sniff test

What happens to compliance when the CEO and her boyfriend collaborate to create a culture of secrecy and fear?

“Partners in Blood,” The Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2018 C1.  Reports from the trenches at Theranos, which said it was able to run a range of tests from a few drops of blood; it couldn’t.  SEC charges company with fraud, and investors lose millions.

While the implications of a relationship of the CEO goes to Governance, are there also links to Compliance and Information?  What impact did the culture have on the company’s compliance?  How do investors know about the nature of a CEO’s personal relationships leaking into the corporate environment?

Who should have seen this and reported it to someone?  Why didn’t the directors smell a rat?

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Filed under Board, Compliance, Culture, Culture, Directors, Duty, Employees, Governance, Oversight, Oversight, Risk, Supervision, To report

Shoes of the centipede

“Wells Fargo Faces More Woe Over Client Data,” The Wall Street Journal, May 18, 2018 B1.  Another shoe drops at Wells Fargo (when will it ever end?) after disclosure that employees in the wholesale business (non-consumer) banking side changed and added customer information without approval.  Reason: to meet a compliance deadline.

Is there another organization with so many compliance failures?  It started with consumer banking and credit cards and now seems to have permeated the entire enterprise.  Is it risky to call this an enterprise?  What influenced their behavior?  Why are the directors not in the dock?  Weren’t they in charge of establishing and ensuring the culture of compliance?  This is a bank, for God’s sake.

Is it easier to find someone who was or wasn’t involved in some type of bad behavior at Wells Fargo?

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Filed under Accuracy, Board, Compliance (General), Controls, Corporation, Culture, Culture, Directors, Duty, Duty of Care, Employees, Governance, Internal controls, Managers, Oversight, Oversight, Supervision