More Than Words: Reflections of a General Counsel
Hassan B. Hassan, Associate General Counsel, GE Healthcare, UAE
As we approach the second decade of the 21st century, general counsel have a unique opportunity to pause and reflect. We began the previous decade with a stock market crash and ended it with the greatest global economic crisis since the 1930’s.
In between, we have seen many companies collapse under the weight of massive internal fraud and corruption. We saw the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other legislation enacted as a reaction to a series of corporate and accounting scandals including those affecting Enron, Parmalat, Shell, Tyco, WorldCom and others. The U.S. Department of Justice continues to expand the scope of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, setting the pace for unprecedented growth in U.S. and international enforcement of anti-corruption laws.
The record $1.3 billion in fines paid by Siemens to settle bribery allegations serves as a compelling example of the catastrophic financial loss that is a consequence of an integrity lapse or worse, the absence of a culture driven by high performance with unyielding integrity. Globalization has added various other challenges to the role of GCs, including navigating a materially changing landscape of legal, regulatory and reputational risk.
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