Client Story

When compliance is critical to survival

A US-based medical products company reached a settlement with the US Justice Department over charges of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The deferred-prosecution agreement required the company to retain an external corporate compliance monitor to make sure it was adhering to the terms of the agreement and implementing robust controls to prevent future violations.

But about halfway through the mandatory four-year monitoring period, the company’s outside counsel had some concerns. The monitor needed to confirm that the company’s compliance program included effective controls in order to provide certification that the company had a framework in place to comply with the FCPA. The monitor was making recommendations relative to identified weaknesses and the company was making little progress responding to the monitor and implementing recommendations. The company’s chief compliance officer engaged AlixPartners to support compliance efforts in five countries where the risk of FCPA violations was high, and to strengthen the company’s overall compliance program.

A customized online portal and stronger processes transform the business

The assignment called for a concerted multinational campaign. We dispatched experienced compliance teams to the five high-risk countries to help with planning, coordination, and implementation of compliance initiatives and stepped up communication with key executives and compliance personnel. Recognizing the importance of regular check-ins, status updates, and communication, we set up a system to maintain a steady flow of relevant information. Global status meetings were weekly events. Written updates to the chief compliance officer (CCO), CFO, external counsel, and other members of the compliance staff went out weekly and more often as needed. Meetings with the CCO and CFO occurred every two weeks. We also built a customized online global compliance portal to support project management and provide analytics to strengthen the company’s internal investigations and self-monitoring. Because the legal agreement required the company to enhance its compliance training, we also integrated a scalable module within the portal that tracked training sessions and future initiatives in enough detail to satisfy the monitor’s requirements.

Further, we set up a project management office to develop and distribute the processes, procedures, and forms used to track interactions with parties considered to be high violation risks. Guided by the monitor’s feedback, we helped conduct process walk-throughs and task force meetings to enhance communication. We also helped global compliance personnel prepare for periodic “summit meetings” with the monitor.

When it really matters

The client needed to show its monitor that it was moving aggressively to upgrade its compliance performance, and that’s what we helped it do. By improving the tracking of accountability and strengthening communication and coordination across the company, we shortened the time required to roll out compliance initiatives and identify high-risk activities and interactions. Compliance officers were better able to identify talent gaps in the compliance function and set standards for recruiting and hiring. And non-US subsidiaries benefited from our help in developing local compliance procedures and harmonizing them with the company’s global compliance policies. The portal became a tool that the company could use for historical reference as well as ongoing testing and monitoring for their improved yet evolving compliance program.