If any company could find the corporate governance mainstays America has come to know and love a bit challenging – like internal monitoring programs – it’s Siemens. The German engineering company has had one severe round with its shadow since German authorities uncovered a massive bribery scandal two years ago. The scale of the problem was in part attributed to its far-ranging operations.
To right the ship, last year Siemens hired Peter Solmssen as general counsel, putting him in the unenviable position of instilling ethical values among the company’s 400,000 employees. Tackling the global problem head-on, Solmssen headed to its facilities in Mexico, and did exactly what anybody charged with such a gargantuan task should: he told employees about ethics.
His new job could not be more different from his past role at GE, a company renowned for its compliance and deft leadership.
But it could help Solmssen reinforce Siemens’ conviction to end corruption, important as the Justice Department nears the end of its investigation. And, according to the New York Times, Siemens’ compliance department is indeed on the up and up, heralding the virtues of the three Ps of corporate governance: procedures, processes and people.
By Janine Armin
Corporate Secretary magazine