Category Archives: Managers

VW may face fraud charges

VW is being investigated by the EU’s antifraud office since November 2015, in connection with loans based, in part, on VW’s green environmental reputation.  The emissions cheating scandal has cost $25 billion.  And counting.  May recommend that Germany charges two employees with fraud.  German authorities are in on the hunt, too.

“Volkswagen Faced With New Legal Woes,” The Wall Street Journal, August 1, 2017 B3.

Who knew what when, and who failed to disclose what they knew?  When it rains, it pours.

Leave a comment

Filed under Board, Compliance, Compliance, Corporation, Duty, Employees, Governance, Inform market, Inform shareholders, Managers, To report

The self-governing company

Uber fired the executive at the heart of the dispute with Google over self-driving cars.  The exec failed to meet a deadline to comply with a court order to turn over documents in a trade secret case over self-driving cars. “Uber Fires Executive At Center Of Suit,” The Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2017 A1.

Lesson?  If you hire an employee from a competitor and he’s accused of stealing his former employer’s trade secrets, try your best to look good.

What’s your process for keeping new employees, especially from competitors, from damaging your business and your reputation by bringing in your competitor’s trade secrets?  Did you follow it, or is it just there for show?

Leave a comment

Filed under Communications, Compliance, Controls, Corporation, Duty, Employees, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Management, Managers, Oversight, Ownership, Policy, Protect, Third parties, Value

A handful of stories

  1. Compare

“FCC Won’t Move Against Colbert for Crude Remarks,” The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2017 A3.  Remarks about Trump don’t draw a fine.  The question remains, what will?  What’s the impact of the regulator not even trying to enforce regulatory standards?

With

“Pakistan Investigates Social-Media Critics of Its Military,” The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2017 A8.  Twenty-seven critics investigated for “unacceptable” comments criticizing and ridiculing the military and judiciary.  The FCC wasn’t consulted.

2. “U.S. Sues Chrysler Over Emissions Tests,” The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2017 B1.  Apparently VW wasn’t the only one seeking to game the emissions-testing process.

3.  “Human Still Rule Machines in Insurance,” The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2017 B1.  Despite the new sources of data, and the ability of computer programs to determine how much an individual insurance policy should cost, humans are still a necessary decision-maker.

4.  “Target Settles Probe Into Its 2013 Hack,” The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2017 B3. Following the 2013 data breach, Target pays an additional $18.5 million to settle state charges.

5. “High-Ranking Chinese Regulator Faces Probe,” The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2017 B14.  Assistant chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission fired for breaking the rules.  Details not available.

Leave a comment

Filed under Accuracy, Analytics, Compliance, Compliance, Controls, Corporation, Culture, Duty, Employees, Governance, Government, Information, Internal controls, Management, Managers, Oversight, Supervision, Value

Reporting, vel non

Does your radar go wild when someone suggests delaying the report of information?

“Sunrun Sales Data Seen as Skewed,” The Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2017 B1.  In the run-up to the company’s IPO, some managers were told by their managers to hold off on reporting a number of canceled contracts.  Reporting this information would have reduced the sales numbers, as the canceled contracts were a large percentage of total orders.

What does it say about a culture where the bosses ask managers to do this type of thing?  And no one says, “No”?  Was no one bright enough to connect the dots?  What else is suspect?  Are employees clueless as to their common law duties to report wrong-doing or deviations from company processes?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Accuracy, Compliance, Compliance, Controls, Culture, Data quality, Duty, Employees, Governance, Internal controls, Management, Managers, Oversight, Supervision, To report

Texas Administrators

Soon to be signed into law is a bill holding school administrators, superintendents, and principals criminally liable for failing to report teachers who commit “inappropriate acts” with students.  The offending teachers are already potentially liable.

“Texas Measure Targets Improper Teachers, The Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2017 A3.

Surprising it wasn’t the law already.  Mr. Bumble was right:  the law is a ass.

Leave a comment

Filed under Communicate, Communications, Controls, Duty, Employees, Governance, Government, Internal controls, Management, Managers, Oversight, Supervision

Speaking of Culture

Another company much in the news of late: Wells Fargo.  Account cramming over a period of years.  To get bonuses.  Shearman & Sterling report.

“Wells Investigated Whether Executives Steered Business,” The Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2017 B10. Three executives in private banking business are reportedly fired or suspended.  The allegation is that some clients were channeled away from people in the bank “who may have been better equipped to handle certain client needs.”  Maximizing bonuses may be at issue; apparently, the best interests of the clients were subordinate.  Following internal processes and procedures apparently is also optional.

This is what we know this week.  What will we know next week?  How deep does the rot in ethics and compliance go? What messages are the remaining employees getting?  The Board is still in place.  Who’s accountable?

Leave a comment

Filed under Controls, Corporation, Culture, Duty, Employees, Governance, Internal controls, Managers, Oversight

It’s not Caesar’s wife – it’s Caesar

How do you enforce a non-retaliation policy when the CEO ignores it?

“Barclays CEO is Probed Over Bid to Unmask Whistleblower,” The Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2017 (online).  CEO attempts to learn the identity of an employee who criticized the hiring of one of the CEO’s buddies.  He asked his internal security folks to find out who was the author; he was rebuffed the first time (he was told it would be inappropriate), but persisted by asking them to look into it again.

Where does one start?  Sounds like a law school exam question.  “Analyze and discuss.”

How do you enforce a policy (or any policy) when the CEO ignores it?  This time it was anti-retaliation; next time he might not hold the handrail, or violate some other company policy.  What does the organization see when the CEO does this?

Here, he got a formal reprimand and will lose some bonus.  How can he remain in his post?  How does this discipline compare to what others have gotten for similar misconduct?  Will the Board members be reelected?  What message would terminating his employment send? If he violates some other policy (large or small) in the future, can the shareholders sue the directors individually for grossly negligent oversight?

Not sure how long an “A” answer would need to be.

Leave a comment

Filed under Board, Compliance, Compliance, Compliance, Controls, Corporation, Culture, Culture, Directors, Duty, Employees, Governance, Internal controls, Management, Managers, Oversight, Oversight, Policy