31 Days to a More Effective Compliance Program - Compliance and the clash of cultures

Thomas Fox
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One of the more difficult things to predict in the mergers and acquisition context is how the cultures of the two entities will merge. Further, while many mergers claim to be a ‘merger of equals’ the reality is far different as there is always one corporate winner that continues to exist and one corporate loser that simply ceases to exist. This is true across industries and countries; witness the debacle of DaimlerChrysler, the disaster of the HP acquisition of Autonomy or the slow downhill slide of United Airlines, Inc. after its See more +
One of the more difficult things to predict in the mergers and acquisition context is how the cultures of the two entities will merge. Further, while many mergers claim to be a ‘merger of equals’ the reality is far different as there is always one corporate winner that continues to exist and one corporate loser that simply ceases to exist. This is true across industries and countries; witness the debacle of DaimlerChrysler, the disaster of the HP acquisition of Autonomy or the slow downhill slide of United Airlines, Inc. after its merger with Continental Airlines.

In the compliance space this clash of cultures is often seen. One company may have a robust compliance program, with a commitment from top management to have a best practices compliance program. The other company may put profits before compliance. Whichever company comes out the winner in the merger, it can certainly mean not only conflict but if the winning entity is not seen as valuing compliance, it may mean investigations and possibly even violations going forward.

Learning how your employees in other countries will approach decision-making and leadership will give you, as the CCO, insight into how they will approach compliance. It will require you to get out into the field to talk with folks. If your company grows organically or through M&A or the JV route, it will need to understand how your new employees will not only think through issues but how they will relate to instructions from the home office in America.

Three key takeaways:

1. Culture clash through a merger can be extremely negative for a company.

2. What are the cultures of leadership in your organization?

3. Learning how your employees approach decision making can provide insight into how the will approach compliance. See less -

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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