Wednesday, December 30, 2009, 11:43 AM

Ethisphere names its most influential people in business ethics

(Image Credit: Brad Swonetz)
Ethisphere has published its list of the 100 most influential people in business ethics in 2009. Take a look by clicking here.

Note that the list does not stop with ethical corporate managers, but also includes transparency and anti-corruption advocates.

Not surprisingly, public consensus continues to hold that the corporate world works best when watchdogs, journalists, and whistleblowers play an important role. No doubt that sentiment has been reinforced by the questionable ethical conduct we saw in recent years from many corporate leaders heading into the economic downturn.

Also note that the corporate leaders on this list made it because they are proactively addressing challenges their brands will face in the future rather than waiting passively for those challenges to consume their brands. The list includes:

Peter Solmssen – General Counsel, Siemens: Solmssen was called in to clean up Siemens and revamp its culture. Many eyes around the world (regulators, companies considering disclosing FCPA violations, shareholders, and many more) will be watching Solmssen’s actions as a live case study as to how a company as large as Siemens can recover from such a large legal issue. One example is Siemen’s new $100 million anti-corruption initiative that will fund global anti-corruption programs.

Sharon Allen (pictured)– Chairman, Deloitte: Allen leads the environment at Deloitte, an environment that is increasingly known for using business ethics as a competitive advantage to secure clients and retain top employees. Allen travelled quite a bit during 2009, often to speak on the advantages of using business ethics to further a company’s operational goals.

Timothy J. Carey – Director of Sustainability, PepsiCo: Carey earns a spot on this list for Pepsi’s new “Eco-Fina” bottle. The new bottle, less harmful to the environment than traditional plastic bottles, received glowing reviews from some of the most ardent anti-plastic bottle groups out there.

Jon Iwata – Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications, IBM: Iwata and his team are responsible for instilling IBM Values into the company’s practices and operations, and for coordinating IBM’s corporate affairs initiatives. This year Iwata led efforts to advocate IBMers responsible engagement of business and social issues via online communications tools fostering relationships, learning and collaboration.

Michael Passoff – Associate Director, Corporate Social Responsibility Program, As You Sow: Activist shareholder resolutions are a dime a dozen, particularly in regard to environmental initiatives. This year marked a milestone — the first of those resolutions to ever pass. Passoff, Associate Director of As You Sow, helped to organize the resolution and the investor vote, which requires Idaho utility company IdaCorp to set greenhouse gas reduction goals.

David Michaels – Assistant Secretary of Labor, OSHA: Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, must seem a bit more intimidating to Board Rooms than his predecessors as it was recently ruled that private companies that perform work for public companies will be liable under Sarbanes-Oxley regulations. This expands the authority of SOX which also expands the powers of OSHA, the regulatory body that oversees SOX.

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