Jeffrey Eglash, Vice President, Ethics and Compliance, Nokia chats with Ethisphere about what it means to build a culture of leadership and accountability. To hear more about this topic and from Jeffrey, register for Ethisphere’s 9th Annual Global Ethics Summit.
Q: Merging with another company can usher in many challenges, but when it comes to compliance integration what challenges have you encountered and how do you ensure that your program continues to be effective?
Eglash: It’s interesting because in my last job before coming to Nokia I was responsible for compliance integration between two companies, which had different backgrounds. In my current role, it’s no secret that Alcatel has some compliance challenges in the past. They had a compliance monitor that helped them build up a terrific program and in many ways, the program that Alcatel-built up was a bit different from Nokia’s. Alcatel’s program (then) was one that was very heavily resourced and very process driven. What we are trying to do is strike a balance between the preexisting Alcatel program and the Nokia program and have them come together and find the best of both worlds. I think we’re doing a very good job finding that balance and harmonizing two programs, while they bore many similarities also had important differences.
Q: So Jeffrey, you’ve worked in compliance for many years and spent many years at GE as well so you’ve gathered a lot of experience here and your panel at the Global Ethics Summit will focus on how compliance adds value to the business. From your experience can you explain why this is becoming increasingly important?
Eglash: It’s a great question and it’s a timely question, Aarti. For a long time, I heard a number of business leaders talk about the value of compliance from a commercial standpoint. I guess I didn’t always know that that was actually the case in real life. More and more what I’m seeing is that it truly does matter to have a solid program, culture and a strong commitment to integrity. It matters with the government, it matters with customers, suppliers, employees and I think as we’re seeing more and more big corporate scandals, confidence in companies is being shaken and so integrity and reputation truly matter. When I go out and visit my colleagues in different parts of the world I’m really gratified to hear from them that they’re counterparts and customers really value our reputation and our brand and commitment to integrity. It is making a difference in helping us win in the marketplace. One of the things I’m trying to do in that regard with our compliance team is building a mindset of our compliance leaders as being strategic business partners. I alluded earlier to sitting on the sideline and saying yes or no and that’s not my vision of how compliance can best serve and best partner with the business to achieve objectives. I like to see compliance leaders world constructively with business leaders to identify solutions and come up with ways where maybe you can’t do a deal or transaction or a third party relationship the way it’s originally envisioned, but often times if you sit across a table and put your heads together you can find a way to mitigate the compliance risks that have been identified, but still allow the transaction to go forward so it’s a win-win situation.