One of things that has become more apparent over the past several years is that companies with robust compliance programs are generally better-run companies for several reasons. First and foremost is that robust compliance controls enhance financial controls so the companies are more efficient on the business side of things. The second is that a robust compliance regime can only succeed with clear management support, beginning at the top and all the way down through the organization.

The Man From FCPA was therefore intrigued when General Electric recently announced it was acquiring the energy services company Baker Hughes Inc. The reason is that both companies are recognized as having two of the very top compliance programs in the energy industry and indeed across the country. It certainly made sense from a business perspective that two such companies would combine and compliance would be at the forefront of this new entity.

Both companies’ commitment to compliance is well known within the energy industry and the greater compliance community. Both companies regularly send their compliance professionals to speak at conferences and share their best practices with others in the compliance field. Both companies chief compliance officers regularly speak about their ongoing support they have from the very top of the organization. Both companies also invest in technology at the forefront of not only the compliance arena but also making the companies run better, with more efficiency and with greater profitability.

But it is more than simply the compliance discipline in each company, which makes them industry leaders. Both companies have strong commitment from the very top of their organization that business will be done the right way, ethically and in compliance. This message is communicated down through the organization on an ongoing basis and it is reinforced in the form of compensation incentives and promotions.

Finally both companies have operationalized compliance. Their respective compliance departments to not simply sit back and weigh in. Compliance is burned into the fabric of the business organization of each companies. It is up the business person to do each and every transaction ethically and in compliance. In short, each company is doing compliance which makes them both stronger.

When the two compliance programs in one industry merge together, it will create a new compliance organization which will be a shining example for the rest of corporate America.