In the Future, More Executives Will Be Prosecuted

May 21, 2014

Jordan A. Thomas points to improving corporate culture as a means to curb white-collar criminal activity

Q. Mr. Jordan, why was it so important to prosecute Credit Suisse criminally? It would have been easier for the US authorities to obtain the restitution of billions with civil proceedings.

A. A criminal case sends a stronger message. In many companies, paying large amounts is not enough to cause real changes in the internal culture.

Q. What can companies do to avoid ending up in the same situation as Credit Suisse?

A. The important thing is truly to change corporate culture. And when wrongdoing is discovered, a very swift and definitive reaction is required. Many companies have adopted large numbers of rules and regulations, but the firm's culture remains the same. And management does not react to infractions with the seriousness they deserve. This half-hearted conduct will not be enough from now on.

This is an excerpt of a Q&A that originally ran in a May 21, 2014, Handelsblatt article titled, "In Zukunft werden mehr Manager vor Gericht gestellt."