Ex-Albemarle CCO shares drivers behind data analytics success at CW2024

CW2024 McBride

A lot happened at Albemarle Corp. just before Andrew McBride accepted the chemical company’s offer to become its first chief compliance officer in 2018.

A month prior, the company’s board decided to revamp the way it conducted business in its catalysts division by firing all its sales agents. The reason it did that, McBride would soon discover, was that the company was planning to disclose to the Department of Justice (DOJ) that it appeared to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) regarding payments sales agents made to obtain business in three countries from 2009-17.

McBride began work on a Monday and met with the DOJ to discuss the disclosure on Friday. Talk about baptism by fire.

In September, Albemarle agreed to pay more than $218 million in settlements with the DOJ and the Securities and Exchange Commission for alleged violations of the FCPA across Vietnam, Indonesia, India, China, and the United Arab Emirates. After the company earned the highest penalty reduction—45 percent—recorded under the DOJ’s revised corporate enforcement policy, Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole Argentieri described the case as “an example for companies considering how to achieve the best result under our policies.”

During a fireside chat held Wednesday at Compliance Week’s National Conference in Washington, D.C., McBride explained how he led Albemarle’s compliance department to remediate the issues that led to the apparent FCPA violations and how the team used data analytics to assess risks and implement compliance solutions. McBride offered his personal views, as he left Albemarle in March.

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