Podcast: Delaware Law & Officer Liability


We have another Radical Compliance podcast today, this time talking about that recent Delaware Chancery Court ruling that opens the door to more personal liability risks for chief compliance officers and other corporate executives.  To parse the implications of that ruling I called up Todd Haugh, professor of business ethics and law at Indiana University.…

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SEC Nails Activision on Culture Oversight


Activision-Blizzard has agreed to pay $35 million to settle charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission that the company didn’t have adequate processes to warn investors about its poor corporate culture. The company also settled charges that it violated whistleblower protection rules. The settlement was announced Friday morning, and I fear that this case may…

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Duty of Oversight, Part II


Today let’s take a closer look at that Delaware Chancery Court decision from last week that established a “duty of oversight” for corporate officers. It’s another evolutionary step in the oversight of corporate culture, which is always something corporate compliance and audit professionals need to watch closely. The decision involved the former head of HR…

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A Double Whammy of Accountability


Holy cow! The compliance world had two big stories break within the last 24 hours: one about a Wall Street bank trying to hold employees accountable for good behavior, the other about the legal risks for corporate executives who don’t. We can start with the Wall Street bank, because everyone loves to pick apart what…

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Ye Olde CCO Certification Idea


Here’s an intriguing question about compliance officers certifying the effectiveness of their compliance programs: Could we trace this idea, at least partly, back to an FCPA opinion release the Justice Department published in 2020?  This notion came to me from a sharp-eyed compliance officer who was reading the opinion release the other day. It involved…

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Danske Bank CCO to Depart in 2024


The chief compliance officer at Danske Bank has announced that he will be leaving the bank in 2024, raising a delicate but important question. Who’s going to certify the effectiveness of Danske Bank’s compliance program to the Justice Department when the bank is scheduled to do that in 2025? Satnam Lehal, Danske Bank’s chief compliance…

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ABB: CCO Certification After All!


Well this is quite the plot twist: the chief compliance officer and the CEO for Swiss industrial giant ABB will indeed need to certify the effectiveness of ABB’s compliance program as part of the company’s FCPA settlement announced last week. That requirement was included in the company’s deferred-prosecution agreement, which the Justice Department did not…

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More Major Justice Dept. News


Corporate compliance officers, drop everything. We have a second speech from the Justice Department about corporate misconduct and compliance programs that needs your immediate attention.  Assistant attorney general Kenneth Polite gave the speech in Texas on Friday. It follows the speech that his boss, deputy attorney general Lisa Monaco, gave one day earlier in New…

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‘Reasonably Designed’ Programs, Part II


Our post last week about the lack of clear standards for a “reasonably designed” compliance program drew lots of comment from compliance professionals — enough that the issue deserves continued exploration, since there’s plenty more to say on the subject.  First let’s consider a concrete example of the confusion that could arise here.  Imagine your…

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‘Reasonable Design’ and CCO Certifications


Today I want to revisit the Justice Department’s plans to have chief compliance officers certify the effectiveness of their compliance programs, to unpack a question that’s been bothering me. When the department says it wants certification that your program is reasonably designed to prevent future violations, what does “reasonable” actually mean?  Readers of Radical Compliance…

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