Asha J. Palmer, CEO, Global Compliance Counsel, former Senior Compliance Counsel, Mubadala Investment Company ([email protected]):
At risk of stating the obvious, Richard’s story is real. He actually lived and experienced the pain that corruption can have on one’s life—even if you’re the one enabling corrupt practices. But more than Richard’s story, Richard has transformed his traumatic experience into a lesson that all of our organizations (and us as individuals) can learn from. We all need to hear Richard’s story to help fill gaps in our programs and approaches where corruption can seep through—in places both known and unknown. Richard’s study and understanding of the psychological aspects that drive and substantiate corruption is also unparalleled. He is a true student of ethics & compliance and can help us all!
Chris Laiolo: Operations Manager, International Corruption Unit, National Crime Agency, UK
Richard Bistrong kindly provided a unique insight into the murky world of bribery and the operation of its agents, consultants and advisors that captivated the audience at a UK Overseas Territories Anti-Bribery Workshop. Clearly well-educated, Richard delivers the alternative rationale from a successful businessman transcending into becoming part of a worldwide network of facilitators, to his capture, and law enforcement assistance. Richard then addresses his emerging from the other end, having left incarceration and describing the personal impact upon his family, friends and business positioning.
Richard now clearly seeks a different future, with one of educating and assisting. With a willingness to answer questions with candor and rendering advice on considerations from an investigators point of view, the time spent by the group interacting with him (in this case via video link) proved to be extremely useful and without exception the session received positive feedback from every delegate.
Jill Mason, Chief Compliance Officer, Orthofix Medical Devices
I engaged Richard to speak to my company’s employees at our National Sales Meeting. I could not have been more captivated or impressed by Richard’s work. His sales experience buys him immediate credibility with an audience. Not only does Richard candidly talk about his journey, but he supplements it with academic anecdotes that provide insight into the “why’s” and “how’s” of human behavior. Richard is a talented public speaker who teaches ethics and compliance in a modern way. Everyone, no matter the title or job function, takes something new away from a Richard Bistrong presentation. At my company’s meeting, his presentation sparked a number of side conversations and generated a lot of compliance “buzz” – which is exactly what I wanted. One tenured sales professional told me it was the best compliance presentation he had observed in his 25-year career. A Sales Vice President simply stated that “Richard won the National Sales Meeting.” There is no doubt in my mind that Richard is positively influencing the behavior of the sales men and women who are on the front lines of Compliance. I highly recommend collaborating with Richard. For me it was fun, educational, and he made me look like a genius for partnering with him.
Margaret Della: Program Director at Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School – Newark & New Brunswick
Richard Bistrong presented to our Executive Business Cabinet on December 2, 2014 on the areas of ethics, compliance, FCPA and culture. Richard candidly shared his story of violating the FCPA, served the FBI investigation, and transparently articulated his decisions that led up to his ‘perfect storm.’ Without a question, he admits that what he did was wrong. Yet, without distracting the discussion with the nuances of his case, Richard helped leaders learn from his missteps. Richard explained how leaders can misunderstand the conditions in which frontline employees operate and the dangers of how policies and incentives can create conflicting messages to employees. He also underscored opportunities to reconnect and reengage with employees before a crisis hits. We were absolutely captivated and humbled. We know it is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ in many domestic and international, for-profit and non-profit organizations; Richard delivered on his objective to caution leaders and their organizations to modify their respective ‘business as usual’ before it’s too late.
Barry Vitou: Partner, Pinsent Masons (UK)
Richard offers a unique perspective. Although Richard has turned his back on crime, when he spoke via video link at our Compliance conference (Fall, 2014) he stole the show. Richard, was non-compliant. He has been there, seen it, done it and got the orange jumpsuit to prove it. He speaks with real world experience, garnered from places far away from compliance HQ. Compliance can learn a lot from Richard.
Yuen Teen Mak: Associate Professor at National University of Singapore
I invited Richard to participate in the SIAS roundtable discussion on bribery and corruption when doing business overseas. I am the advisor to the conference which featured the roundtable discussion and moderated this particular discussion. I felt that discussions of this issue often focus on codes of conduct and measures to ensure compliance – such as setting the right tone at the top, internal audits, whistleblowing – without recognizing the impact of a company’s business strategies, pressure to achieve sales targets, and incentive plans on the risks of bribery. Such an approach has had a less than desired impact as we can see from continuing instances of multinational corporations being caught for bribery.
Singapore is one of the major exporting economies in the world and is well regarded for having low public sector corruption by Transparency International and other organizations. However, as our companies increasingly venture overseas into emerging markets, there is considerable risk that we will also become a major exporter of corruption. The roundtable discussion was intended to increase awareness of this issue for companies and regulators in Singapore and the region.
Richard’s insights into how and why bribery actually happens out in the field, away from corporate headquarters, were of great value to the participants.
Alison Taylor: Director, Energy and Extractives at BSR (Business for Social Responsibility)
I first became aware of Richard on Linkedin, where I follow a number of commentators on anti-corruption, ethics and risk. Richard’s perspective struck me as unique, interesting and fresh. With so much of the debate a stale discussion about processes and rules that bears no resemblance to real human behavior in real organizations, I found his insight into what really happens to be compelling, and long overdue. As a result I got in touch to interview him for my white paper on risk and organizational behavior. Throughout our interaction he has been responsive, intelligent, helpful, thoughtful, and self aware. I would recommend working with Richard to anyone that wants to influence change in their organization around ethics, transparency, and corruption.
Philippe Montigny: CEO of ETHIC Intelligence; President of the ETHIC Intelligence Certification Committee
Richard moderates one of the most interesting blogs today on anti-corruption and compliance issues. Miles away from conventional thinking on compliance, he brings to the table new and useful ideas on designing and implementing compliance programs that both provide legal defense and are truly effective at preventing corruption. He knows the challenges that sales people are confronted with in difficult environments where corruption is endemic, competitors are ready to bribe and administrations are demanding… His view on compliance is a Copernican revolution : tone from the top is essential of course but Richard demonstrates that to truly prevent corruption, C-suite managers must not only listen to the difficulties their operations encounter on the ground but also engage their workforce to propose solutions – solutions which could entail strategic decisions for business development. Richard’s blog provides the compliance community with much valuable insight and food for thought.
Chris Bennett: BPA Professional Education & Research
Richard’s presentation to the SIAS Governance week roundtable session on bribery and corruption made a deep impression on me and on the participants. Rather than the more common focus on the detail of the law and regulations his contribution focused on the impact on those who bribe and their families. It also opened the eyes of many to the significant co-operation between enforcement agencies in different jurisdictions.
Richard’s honest reflections, untainted by self-justification, made the presentation unique in my experience
Julian Fenwick: Managing Director at GRC Solutions
We invited Richard to present to a small selection of our clients across our Australian offices. Richard’s story was probably one of the most engaging I have heard on the topic of bribery and corruption. His insights and real world experience gave our clients an unique perspective on the issues and how they might manage compliance in the field.
Scott E. Sullivan: Vice President at Flowserve Corporation
We collaborated with Richard on a 30 minute video for our global sales force. The video, from the vantage point as “one of their own, “ discussed both the personal and professional perils as well as the consequences of engaging in misconduct. The video was extremely impactful and meaningful for the audience, and it generated excellent discussion. I would highly recommend a similar approach for companies seeking novel and proactive ways to get their ethics and compliance messages across to their sales forces and front-line business teams. Richard’s story clearly resonates with folks at all levels and serves as a stark warning for those faced with real legal and ethical challenges in the real world.
Geert Vermeulen: CEO at Ethics & Compliance Management & Consulting (ECMC) www.ethicscompliancemc.com.
In December 2015 I conducted a live video interview with Richard Bistrong in front of a large audience of Compliance Officers at the National Compliance Congress of The Netherlands. Richard’s story not only moved the participants but also provided valuable, practical insights to compliance officers; the type of insights you don’t learn by reading a compliance book. Richard’s reflections on the ‘what actually happens’ on the front-lines of international business provided our compliance community with a unique view from the field, which provided us with operational take-aways to share with our commercial, audit and compliance teams.