A clash of cultures: Implementing a SOX compliant whistle-blower policy in Europe

Toby Hornett, Corporate Counsel, Canon Europe Ltd, UK

Based on Canon Europe’s experience of implementing a SOX-compliant whistle-blower policy, this paper looks at how US-style whistle-blower policies in Europe can clash with various national laws (mainly data protection) and more importantly cultural values. It also covers the way in which national data protection authorities around Europe have reacted, and touches on the way in which Canon Europe overcame these hurdles. The US company that treats Europe as a single territory with no understanding of the cultural and legal differences between Member States is making a mistake.

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United Kingdom Corporate Governance Electronics February 2009 Vol. 2, No. 6, Winter 2009

Toby Hornett

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Toby Hornett is a Corporate Counsel and Manager within the Canon Europe Legal team. He reports to the Chief of Legal and Intellectual Property, and manages a small team responsible for legal support to Canon Business Solutions - one of the 3 business units within Canon Europe. He also supports Canon Belgium, which does not have its own employed lawyer. Toby joined the Clifford Chance London office in 1997 from law school and stayed for 3 and a half years, including a stint in the Paris office. Toby worked in 2 in-house roles before joining Canon, most recently for Danka / Infotec (now part of the Ricoh group). Toby speaks fluent French, was at Edinburgh University and Guildford Law school and has a MBA from INSEAD. http://www.linkedin.com/in/tobyhornett

Canon Europe Ltd

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Canon's core business is to deliver pioneering imaging technologies - its customers benefit from consumer and professional imaging products including leading edge photographic equipment, printers, scanners and binoculars, as well as its advanced range of digital and SLR cameras. In addition, its Business Solutions unit offers a vast portfolio of print and document solutions for small and medium businesses, large corporations and governments. Its Industrial Products Business Unit widens its scope further still, offering products to suit markets as diverse as medical, optical, broadcast and IT multinationals. Canon Europe contributes around one third of Canon’s global sales revenue and employs in the region of 11,000 people across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

United Kingdom Corporate Governance Electronics February 2009 Vol. 2, No. 6, Winter 2009