When I begun my journey in this field, back in 2005-2006, it was considered by many as being too novel and unattractive for European companies. This made it difficult not only to persuade local business people to invest in a specialized department or position, but also to discuss about its intricate topics. Academics were even more puzzled by its name, “Ethics Management” or “Ethics & Compliance Management”, though the idea of “ethics institutionalization” was around since 1996-1997 and “ethics programs” or “compliance programs” were a common thing in U.S. companies and public administration since 1978. My PhD coordinator himself rejected the concept at first, only to write a very theoretical book a few years later.
My very first steps were based more on Business Ethics than mere Compliance, which meant, really, Regulatory Compliance. That aspect influenced both my perspective and my experience, always seeking to understand the complex organizational behavior, practices and procedures, not just the legal obligations and the necessity to align with any industry or professional standard. Consequently, I developed this opinion that only a pluri-specialization including Organizational Psychology, Business Ethics, Economics, Corporate Governance, Corporate Law etc. would provide a profound understanding of the issues businesses, small, medium and large alike, are confronted with.
In 2007, I was launching the first European training program in the field. In parallel, I was organizing academic conferences (Bucharest Conference in Applied Ethics 2008 and 2009 editions) and business events in Romania to build a community of professionals that can support future projects and activities.
Ten years later, in 2016, my efforts turned into two major international events held in Bucharest (Romanian Ethics & Compliance Forum 2016 and the 1st Edition of the European Ethics & Compliance Forum) and a specialized serial publication: Ethics & Compliance Magazine. With Mihai Popa, back then Legal and Compliance Manager at Bayer Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova, I initiated the EthicsComplianceHubs, a series of events aiming to promote the field and its various subfields that lasted until 2018.
Currently, I am the President of the European Ethics & Compliance Association, a non-profit professional organization, and I serve as member in a couple industry-related Ethics Commissions.