Ethics and Compliance Top Management Priorities


Chief Compliance Officer at SNC-Lavalin and keynote speaker at the ACFE Canadian Fraud Conference in Montreal, Sept. 8-11

You recently accepted the position of Chief Compliance Officer at SNC-Lavalin. How important is the role of a compliance officer in today’s current business climate?

The business environment is becoming more and more complex, especially for globally-operated companies. I see the chief compliance officer of a corporation as a key function within an organization to ensure ethics and compliance. The compliance officer’s job is to promote an ethics-based company. Companies are confronted with difficult situations where they have to react and resist, and the compliance officer’s support and advice enables employees to behave in the right way. The chief compliance officer is a trusted advisor to the organization; he/she is involved in day-to-day operations to enable employees to do the right thing under varying circumstances.

What is unique about the group of fraud-fighters you will address in Montreal?

This is a very professional group of people that is engaged in fraud examinations and investigations and would like to learn about the interface to the compliance function. Compliance officers are not necessarily investigators, but we all need to work together. Fraud examiners and investigators have to cooperate with compliance officers and vice versa. To learn from each other is a valuable step forward. There are three columns in a compliance program: prevention, detection and response. The middle function of these, detection, is where all of the functions come together.

What do you most hope attendees will take away from your keynote address?

I would like to talk about ethics and compliance as a top management priority. This means that the compliance function can only be a support and can assist in getting to a culture of high integrity and compliance in an organization. I would like to convey that ethics and compliance in a globally-operated company is a management task. The tone from the top is decisive and how you see your president or management conveys the tone in an organization. We all have to look into the cultural issues of an organization. What is the overall environment? Where are the people living? What are the drivers and incentives? You want to get to the hearts and minds of people to help them live up to the expectation of the management team.

Read more about Mr. Pohlmann and other keynote speakers at this year’s ACFE Canadian Fraud Conference.