I recently saw the performance of King Lear with Glenda Jackson as the mad king. It was a magnificent production and if you have the chance to see, I would certainly urge you to do so. The production had many interesting features and interpretations which seemed to be great entrees into several compliance topics. The play was directed by Sam Gold and it was scored by Phillip Glass but the star power was derived from Jackson as King Lear. It was a fabulous take on the story and one that will resonate directly to our turbulent times. Therefore, inspired by octogenarian Jackson and her performance, I am going to use King Lear as a deep dive into several compliance topics this week. In this episode, I want to discuss how Jackson, starring in the role of King Lear, added a new level of complexity, nuance and interpretation to the entire play.
Jackson is an octogenarian, the oldest person I have ever seen play Lear. Having seen my two parents age, I have some understanding that a person does not gain in stature, power or strength after they cross the 80-birthday mark. In other productions I have seen Lear roar and rail at Cordelia however, Jackson played it understated with nary a raised voice.
Even after the intermission, one of the most powerful scenes is when Lear carries of the lifeless body of Cordelia. Lear is in shock, bereaving and clearly quite mad. Yet to pull this off this scene requires an actress playing Cordelia to be of a size that the actor playing Lear can physically carry. Jackson is far too frail to do so. In this penultimate scene she sat on the stage with Cordelia’s head cradled in her lap, gently stroking her dead daughter’s hair. It was one of the most tender, loving and affectionate presentations I have ever seen in Lear.
The same week as the Mobile TeleSystems PJSC (MTS) Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement action was announced there were two significant speeches by Department of Justice officials. The first was by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The second was by Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski.
I want to focus on how both speeches explain what many found to be the stunning result Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation (CTSH) received when it obtained a declination for its FCPA violations, both from the strategic and tactical levels.
Taken together, these two speeches made clear the reasons why the DOJ handed a declination to CTSH. The company engaged in the type of conduct, after it discovered its FCPA violation, that the DOJ wanted to reward and encourage going forward. Rosenstein made this crystal clear in his remarks, when he stated, “We aim to incentivize companies to report crimes, disgorge illegal proceeds, take remedial actions, and identify accountable officials so we can prosecute them – and do it all promptly. That will result in less corporate crime in the future.” This is not going soft on corporate crime; this is bringing corporate America into a role in the global fight against bribery and corruption.
Yet the Benczkowski speech had equal import for the compliance professional. The DOJ rewarded CTSH for not only its quick decision to self-disclose and then doing so; they also rewarded the company for having a robust pre-existing compliance program even though C-Suite executives led the bribery effort. This recognition by the DOJ makes even more important the corporate compliance function and a corporate compliance program to protect an organization if nefarious actors arise.