The ultimate independence is irrelevance

The ultimate independence is irrelevance

Joe Murphy – Compliance & Ethics Professional – February 2016

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Chief compliance and ethics officers (CECO) need independence. All compliance and ethics people need independence. This makes sense, because we must be able to stand apart from the crowd and point out concerns that others may want to ignore. We need to be able to object to misconduct at the highest levels, even by officers like the CFO, CEO, or General Counsel.

But it is a terrible mistake to think that independence alone is a formula for success. Giving someone independence without the power to get things done is a formula for failure. For a compliance person to be successful, they also need power. They need to be in the room when the important decisions are being made; they need to be part of decision making chains; they need direct and ongoing reporting to the board; and they need connection with what is going on in the business. Independence without this is irrelevance.

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