The Compliance Life details the journey to and in the role of a Chief Compliance Officer. How does one come to sit in the CCO chair? What are some of the skills a CCO needs to success navigate the compliance waters in any company? What are some of the top challenges CCOs have faced and how did they meet them? These questions and many others will be explored in this podcast series. In this month’s series, I have visited with Ellen Hunt, Senior Vice President – Audit, Ethics & Compliance Officer.

Ellen is a lawyer, ethics & compliance professional, and chief audit executive. She has extensive management experience in designing, implementing and operating ethics and compliance programs including board governance and reporting, designing ethics education, creating policy management frameworks, managing enterprise and compliance risk processes as well as handling investigations and regulatory inquiries. Utilizing AARP’s enterprise risk management profile, she re-designed how AARP conducts its annual audit planning process to identify audits that relate to the organization’s must significant risks and incorporated the use of data analytics into audit execution.

 Episode 1- How Do You Get There? In this first episode, we discussed how to start the journey to the CCO chair. We consider what it means to be in the compliance profession. How do you think about a career in compliance?  What are some of the skills you will need to move forward in compliance?

Episode 2- Moving up the Chain

Ellen like many who are in compliance, came to it by (1) being drafted and (2) from the legal function. When she began, compliance was legalistic, rules-based; largely seen as an insurance policy in case there was a compliance failure. It has changed to a business process and every CCO needs to understand the business of their organization. We explored what skills you need to develop to grow in the compliance profession.

Episode 3- Sitting in the CCO Chair

In this episode, Ellen related what happens when you get into the CCO chair. She emphasized it is a great opportunity. You must determine your highest risks and move to manage those risks. You need to get to know your team, assess their strengths and weakness and conclude how to use those skills. Learn the budgeting process and push for a realistic budget. Finally, get to know your Board and your Compliance Committee or Audit Committee chair.


Episode 4- What’s Next

In this final episode, Ellen visited about what life can look like after you leave the CCO role. What are the types of corporate positions you are skilled for? As ethics and compliance matures, organizations are now seeing risks as positives. The question becomes how you are going to manage that risk for greater profitability; how you will strategically manage risk. We conclude with a discussion of why CCOs need to go onto Boards of Directors and why Boards need compliance expertise to navigate the post Covid-19 world.