CEOs are directly responsible for ethical behaviour in organizations

    OTTAWA, Sept. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadian executives and corporate
directors agree that the Chief Executive Officer is the most important figure
in creating and maintaining an ethical culture in their organization. However,
a new Conference Board of Canada study, based on interviews with 20 senior
executives and directors, finds no consensus on whether a dedicated ethics and
compliance position is required to support the CEO.
    "By their words and actions, CEOs are directly responsible for their
company's ethical culture," said Prem Benimadhu, Vice-President, Governance
and Human Resources Management. "Canadian leaders we talked to believe that
while complying with legislative and regulatory obligations is a must, an
ethical organizational culture is key to preventing misconduct. CEOs must move
organizations beyond compliance to make ethical behaviour a fundamental trait
of their company's culture."
    The publication, Ethics and Compliance Functions: Canadian Corporate
Leaders' Views, indicates that some leaders support a dedicated ethics and
compliance position in organizations while others say ethics can be managed
through existing positions and committees.
    Proponents of a dedicated ethics and compliance position said that it is
unrealistic for the board or CEO to manage the full range of ethics and
compliance issues without the support of a high-level executive in charge of
the function. The ethics and compliance officer can collect information,
prioritize issues and ensure that solutions are implemented uniformly across
the organization. Corporate leaders from large organizations expressed the
most support for a dedicated position in ethics and compliance.
    Those opposed to a dedicated position made three main arguments: the
board and CEO cannot delegate ethics and compliance responsibilities; a
dedicated position replicates existing functions; and assigning responsibility
to a single person or office might confuse or weaken accountability.
    The publication, which is publicly available at,
includes an Ethical Leadership Checklist. This research initiative was
sponsored by Spencer Stuart.

For further information:

For further information: Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, (613) 526-3090
ext. 448,

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