Milking Sarbanes-Oxley: merging law and compliance under the CLO

The New York Times (May 15, 2005 at BU5) ran an article about SOX and compliance. It quoted an editor of Compliance Week: “The big story is that Sarbanes-Oxley has shifted the power center at public companies by homogenizing the roles of the general counsel and the compliance officer.”

Homogenized milk doesn’t separate into cream and milk, but the roles of general counsel – providing legal advice – and the chief compliance officer – assuring procedures meet legal requirements – remain fairly separate. [See my post of March 26, 2005 on two-tiers of staff.] If you combine promoting business (law) and enforcing regulations (compliance), do you create a no-fat department – watered down and less effectual in both roles?

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