Today I conclude my month long HorrorFest Tribute to Val Lewton, who for too long has been in the shadows between the great Universal Pictures monster movies of the 1930s and the Hammer Films of the 1950s. As noted by Cal-Berkeley in its Lewton films retrospective, his films should by praised “for a cluster of creepy cheapies he produced in the early forties, notable for heavily shadowed psychic landscapes, arousing unease through an excess of archaic suggestion.” Originally a scriptwriter, Lewton went from anonymous labors at MGM to working for David O. Selznick on Gone with the Wind and finally to the head of the horror unit at RKO in 1942. Little did the world know that their enfant terror would transform formulaic ideas and impoverished means into a well-crafted surplus of psychological enthrallment.
Beginning with Cat People and I Walked with a Zombie, Lewton overwhelmed a poverty-stricken mandate – to make seventy-five-minute features for $150,000, using titles supplied by the studio – by assembling a remarkable coven of collaborators who could conjure his eerie vision: directors Jacques Tourneur, Mark Robson, and Robert Wise; writers Ardel Wray and DeWitt Bodeen; and cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca. Where most low-budget horror films of the era tried to illustrate the lurking horror, Lewton produced pictures “left instead inky insinuations that beckoned primeval folklore, reptilian instinct, and emotional monstrosities.” If you have never seen any Lewton films, I urge you to curl up on a cozy couch and watch some this Halloween Weekend.
Val Lewton’s films inform today’s post. About this time last year I sat down with Compliance Week Editor Matt Kelly and told him about a vision I had for the compliance practitioner. Compliance Week had just published my book Doing Compliance: Design, Create, and Implement an Effective Anti-Corruption Compliance Program, what I would humbly call the best one volume work on how to design, create and implement a best practices compliance program. But I told Matt that I envisioned a series of shorter books and eBooks, from 30 to 50 pages long, which dove into specific subjects in much greater detail that I could do in a one-volume book such as Doing Compliance.
Matt was intrigued enough to ask me to explain further what I had in mind. I told him I wanted to have a 10 volume series of ‘Fox on Compliance’ topics, available through Compliance Week that could sit on the shelf of any compliance practitioner and provide specific, detailed information about a wide variety of subject matter of interest to any Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) or compliance practitioner. I told him I also wanted to have each book available in an eBook version for those who utilize that format. I wanted to do a book a quarter for 2+ years so that there would be a library of 10 available. Matt gave me the green light and we set off. Shortly thereafter Aarti Maharaj came onboard with Compliance Week and we three have worked to come up a series that can help anyone interested in the doing of compliance.
The first book was CCO 2.0 | Internal Marketer and Soft Skills Required. In this book I discuss that we are now in the age of the Chief Compliance Officer 2.0. Not only has there been an explosion in growth in the profession but also I believe there has been a dramatic shift in the perception of what anti-corruption/anti-bribery compliance is and how a company benefits from having programs which comply with laws such as the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) or UK Bribery Act in place. No longer is compliance the province of lawyers or the legal department but it is now seen as a standalone function which requires a set of skills far different than the typical skills used by in-house lawyers in a corporate legal department, which I call soft skills. I wanted to put together a short book that provides the compliance practitioner with some of the most current ideas on the types of skills that you might need and, equally importantly, how to market your function within the corporate environment.
The second book was Internal Controls in an FCPA Compliance Program. In this volume I discuss the rise in internal controls enforcement around the FCPA. Internal controls have long been an overlooked requirement under the FCPA. In this work, I present a clear guide to navigating the complexities of internal controls. I also discuss the operational realities that compliance practitioners must take into account, the degree of regulations and the extent of government interaction that exist in the design of a company’s internal controls. Finally, I deconstruct the hotly debated topic of internal controls by taking a closer look at the law itself and how it fits as a “critical component” of a best practices anti-corruption program.
Recently Compliance Week released the third book in my series. It is entitled A Guide to Effective Internal Investigations. In this volume I detail what you should do if a call, e-mail, or tip comes into your office because an employee is reporting suspicious activity somewhere across the globe; where the activity might well turn into a FCPA issue for your company. I write about what your company should have in the way of a detailed written procedure for handling any complaint or allegation of bribery or corruption, regardless of how that allegation is communicated. I detail how you should initiate the triage and investigation process that will determine, in many instances, how the company will respond to misconduct as it relates to the FCPA. I also go into some of the considerations you will need in order to make an informed decision on whether or not to self-disclose, evidentiary concerns in any internal investigation and what happens when in-house counsel turns whistleblower.
I have additional books coming out in future quarters. And just as there were some great horror moments in the relatively small and (for Hollywood) inexpensive movies produced by Val Lewton, I think you will find these short books and eBooks packed with lots of substantive information that you can use in your compliance practice going forward.
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© Thomas R. Fox, 2015