In order to keep up with global fraud trends, fraud fighters must be determined to persevere. As a mountain climber, former diplomat and current CEO, Philippe Montigny forged his sense of determination and perseverance “while climbing the Alps, Himalayas, Atlas Mountains, those of Lebanon, as well as the volcanoes of East Africa.” As CEO of ETHIC Intelligence, Montigny may no longer have the time to physically climb mountains, but he is moving them in the anti-fraud field by expanding ETHIC Intelligence’s anti-corruption footprint on every continent.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in eastern France. Although I am based in Paris, I find myself spending a good part of the year traveling the globe supporting international clients.
How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?
As a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ( OECD) Secretary General’s Private Office, I was able to visit and work in numerous countries across the globe. I also had the privilege of participating in the negotiations which led to the 1997 Anti-Bribery Convention. I became convinced that good corporate governance is essential to an organization’s sustainable development.
What steps led you to your current position as CEO of ETHIC Intelligence?
When I left the OECD in 1998 it was to help set up a consultancy in London that specialized in international relations and development; our goal was to assist companies with their expansion into international markets, and consequently I traveled to Africa frequently. Gradually, I noticed the extent to which corruption figured into the daily operations of most of our clients. In 2001, having become the sole owner of the company, I decided to change the focus and specialize in corruption prevention. I named the companyETHIC Intelligence.
What does that role entail?
I spend most of my time developing our international business and expanding our operations on every continent. However, more importantly for me personally, is the fact that I preside over the ETHIC Intelligence Certification Committee which is made up of international expert lawyers in the field of anti-corruption compliance. As president of the committee, I monitor the quality of our terms of reference and ensure that they include the latest legal requirements (U.S., U.K., Italy, Russia, Brazil, etc.) and guidelines )International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), International Organization for Standardization(ISO), etc.) as they are published.
What are the most challenging aspects of being involved with anti-corruption compliance?
The most challenging aspect of anti-corruption compliance is ensuring that compliance is integrated into company operations and the overall business strategy. In the same way that security regulations are only effective if they are accepted, understood and implemented by all, anti-corruption procedures require employees to accept and appreciate their utility in order to ensure appropriate implementation.
What are the most important skills (that relate to your position) you have learned throughout your career?
I believe that two qualities are essential in corruption prevention: humility and the ability to question oneself and one’s ideas. Although talented people (with the best intentions) design anti-corruption compliances procedures, they are up against audacious individuals who can be very creative at bypassing company rules. That is why it is necessary to question our way of addressing the issue on a regular basis. Compliance must evolve constantly to adapt to the ever-changing ways in which people pay bribes.
How do you stay up to date on the latest fraud schemes that people try to perpetrate?
In order to stay up to date on developments in anti-corruption compliance, as well as emerging case law, I continue to conduct training and risk assessments with compliance officers, legal directors and corporate executive committees. These bring me into regular contact with people who face challenges daily when doing business across the globe, from Lagos to Shanghai and Sao Paulo to Moscow.
In addition, once a year we organize, “Excellence in Compliance Day: emerging challenges and the search for best practices” for the compliance officers of our certified companies. Members of our certified companies have the capacity to identify emerging needs in compliance and to suggest appropriate methods to meet these challenges. The day, organized as a brainstorming session, enables us to advance collectively on the subject. The “Excellence in Compliance Day,” training and risk assessments enable me to stay well abreast of developments in the rapidly evolving field of anti-corruption compliance.
How do you think your membership through the ACFE has helped you in your role?
The ACFE has allowed me to meet professionals from a multitude of backgrounds who all share the common goal of encouraging business with integrity. As much as I have learned from their experience, I have been even more impressed by their tireless energy. Combating corruption and fraud is an endless battle and it can be lonely if done without the support of one’s peers.
Why did you decide to join the ACFE?
I decided to join the ACFE to avoid the solitude of the fight. I was motivated by the potential for an exchange of ideas, professional experience and the existence of common goals.
What do you hope to personally pass on to the next generation of fraud fighters?
I would like to convey the idea that a company can have a strong anti-corruption compliance program and still be competitive. The next generation should know that they can have a successful professional career while maintaining the highest personal standards of integrity and ethics. Integrity, in my view, has both moral and economic value.
What activities or hobbies do you like to do outside of work?
I was an avid mountain climber for more than 30 years. It was while climbing the Alps, Himalayas, Atlas Mountains, those of Lebanon, as well as the volcanoes of East Africa, that I forged my sense of determination and perseverance. As CEO of ETHIC Intelligence, I no longer have the time to train for these physical challenges so I now look forward to the moments when I can get away to an isolated farmhouse in Tuscany and enjoy life’s simple pleasures with my family.
Contact the ACFE
For more information, contact Mandy Moody, Media Manager, at (512) 478-9000 ext. 167