In industries that have had significant Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement or investigations over the years, companies have tended to develop more robust compliance solutions as a response.
Obviously the energy industry has seen such an enforcement sweep beginning as far back as 2007. Yet another move by the energy industry has been a business response to the legal issues around FCPA compliance. Simply put, if you want to do business in the energy industry—from as high up the chain to major exploration and production companies down the chain to a $15 million software product startup—your company has to have a FCPA compliance program in place. It is this business solution is what has driven more compliance in the energy industry.
We are now seeing a business response to the ever-widening FIFA corruption scandal. Last week four of the largest corporate sponsors—Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Visa and Anheuser-Busch InBev—called for FIFA President Sepp Blatter to resign immediately. Coca-Cola made the announcement first and the other three followed suit almost immediately thereafter, making it appear there was a coordination of effort by the companies.
These statements by the major sponsors all came after the announcement that Blatter is now under criminal investigation in Switzerland. Blatter, of course, continued to resist calls for his resignation and believes only he can be the savior of FIFA going forward. His personal lawyer issued a statement, which said in part that Blatter “firmly believes that his leaving office now would not be in the best interest of FIFA nor would it advance the process of reform.” No arrogance in those words.
That these corporate sponsors have upped the pressure on Blatter to resign is yet one more indicator that real reform of FIFA will come from business pressure, and a business-based solution is what will lead to sustained compliance with the relevant laws. It will be interesting to see what steps these sponsors will next take in view of Blatter’s continuing recalcitrance and reluctance to resign.