We’re introducing a new weekly feature here at Compliance Week, putting a snarky spotlight on those compliance- and ethics-related individuals, companies, and government entities that “Failed It,” and handing out pats on the back to those that “Nailed It.” (And yes, we couldn’t help but include Elon Musk in our first edition.) If we missed any or if you have any nominations for next week, let us know on Twitter (@ComplianceWeek) or in the comments section below.

Nailed It


TikTok: The short-video platform downloaded by hundreds of millions around the world announced it was pulling its app out of Hong Kong amid concerns about a new national security law imposed by Chinese rule regarding handing over user data. The move is notable because TikTok’s parent company is based in China. It’s a win for personal privacy in an area of the world that’s seeing that civil right quickly receding. — Dave Lefort

U.S. tech giants: Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Microsoft were among the other notable companies announcing they would suspend compliance with Chinese government requests for user data in Hong Kong. — Dave Lefort

Adidas: The athletic apparel company has vowed to create a more “diverse and inclusive” workplace and invest more in career-advancement opportunities for its Black employees. At least it’s acknowledging it needs to improve in this area. The question now is whether it stays true to its word. — Jaclyn Jaeger

Facebook boycotters: As of July 9, over 1,000 businesses (listed here on this public Google doc) have put their money where their mouth is and stopped advertising on Facebook. The advertisers are united in putting principles over profits in calling for the social media behemoth to make a more concerted effort to remove racist material and hate speech from its platform. — Dave Lefort

FedEx: When the package delivery company that owns the naming rights for the NFL’s Washington Redskins’ Stadium joined the chorus pushing owner Dan Snyder to rename the team from the Native American epithet, the billionaire finally buckled, launching a review of the name. Other sports teams like the Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, and Kansas City Chiefs would do well to follow the ethical lead of Quaker Oats (Aunt Jemima), Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream (Eskimo Pie), and Mars (Uncle Ben) in reimagining the marketing of products with racist imagery and history. It’s time. — Aaron Nicodemus

EY: The Big Four firm is giving its employees the bonus of education. The auditing giant has partnered with Hult International Business School on an online free MBA program that will be available to all EY employees across the globe. — DeAnn Orie


Failed It


Wirecard: Already up to its ears in fraud allegations in Germany (to the tune of $2 billion), the payment company now reportedly finds itself under investigation in the United States for an alleged $100 million bank-fraud conspiracy connected to an online marijuana marketplace. — Dave Lefort

Starbucks: The coffee chain banned employees from wearing Black Lives Matter apparel, saying it could “amplify divisiveness.” When an internal memo about it went public in June, people were outraged, and days later the company reversed the ban and declared it would provide 250,000 Starbucks-branded BLM shirts for employees. That’s great, but where do you really stand, Starbucks, when no one is looking? — Aly McDevitt

Luckin Coffee: If you can’t trust the China-based coffee retailer not to fabricate revenue, how can you believe the company’s chairman when he insists a controversial shareholder vote to determine Luckin’s future was on the level? The results of that decisive vote have yet to be announced amid objections about how the votes were tallied. Unsurprisingly, there’s been little transparency into the process. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice … — Dave Lefort

Instacart: The grocery delivery service has become quite successful during the pandemic, but reports say the company has not extended that success to its shoppers, or “gig workers.” — DeAnn Orie

Deutsche Bank: We seriously question the sincerity of the bank’s CEO, even after the $150 million settlement with the NYDFS. When the CEO sends a letter to employees with just the briefest of remarks about being sorry for doing business with Jeffrey Epstein and then spends two pages talking to employees about getting back to business, that’s a HUGE red flag that leadership puts ethics and integrity on the back burner. The bank will be in the news again for more unethical conduct in the future. We guarantee. — Jaclyn Jaeger

Massachusetts General Brigham: The state’s largest network of hospitals is rewarding its frontline workers by freezing pay for thousands and suspending contributions to retirement plans after losing $800 million in revenue during the pandemic. Any employee earning $26.50 per hour or more will be impacted. What a nice way to say thank you to the caregivers and support staff who’ve put their lives on the line every day. — Aly McDevitt

PPP loan program: The Treasury Department did the right thing by making public the recipients of larger PPP loans, but that doesn’t come close to forgiving how much of a mess the program has been. Poorly worded parameters resulted in numerous public companies being able to take advantage of the funds for small businesses, some receiving loans of up to $10 million. It might anger many to see Kanye West’s clothing and sneaker brand Yeezy receive a loan between $2 million and $5 million when West is worth $1.3 billion (according to Forbes), but don’t hate the player—hate the game. — Kyle Brasseur


Failed It … Then Nailed It

Elon Musk: In 2018, the SEC charged the Tesla CEO of exaggerating a claim of “funding secured” when he was attempting to take the firm private. To settle, Musk stepped down as chairman of the board. and he and the company were fined $20 million. Since Musk didn’t want the firm to pay for his mistake, he bought $20 million worth of Tesla shares. This week, Tesla’s stock closed at $1,371 per share, making Musk’s initial investment more than $97 million … a profit, even after his own fine, of more than $50 million. — DeAnn Orie