RMs Need Courage Under Fire

Buyers need to be true to themselves and have “managerial courage” when it comes to maintaining ethics on the job, according to a top risk manager.

The advice came from Paul Buckley, vice president of risk management for Tyco International (US) Inc. in Princeton, N.J.whose former chief executive officer, Dennis Kozlowski, has been on trial for stealing millions from the company.

“In these times a lot of businesses are having problems with executives,” said Mr. Buckley, who started at Tyco after the Kozlowski prosecution began. “I dont think it comes down to preparing for scandal at the top of the house. It comes down to what kind of ethics the whole company abides by. What is the tone at the top?”

Mr. Buckley continued that his recommendation to a risk manager working for a company “that does not have an appropriate tone of integrity at the top,” would be to “seek another job.”

Risk managers also need to refuse to participate in any questionable activities, he said. If asked to do something inappropriatesuch as “not do an actuarial analysis because it may have a negative impact on earnings,” for examplea risk manager needs to “have courage to stand up and say Im sorry, I wont participate in this.”

They should remain “true to their own values, their own integrity, and be willing to have some managerial courage,” he said.

What is the best way to be prepared for an issue like this? Avoid it in the first place, he advised, adding: “Make sure you work for a company with high ethical standards.”

Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, April 15, 2005. Copyright 2005 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.