Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

Risk Oversight and Assessment: A View From the Audit Committee

Corporate boards are facing dramatic challenges in assessing both systemic and individual organizational risk. On May 19, 2011, the Ethics Center and the National Association of Corporate Directors, Silicon Valley, sponsored a panel that addressed three questions: how did we get here, what can we learn, and what changes might allow us to better assess and mitigate risk.

The role of the Audit Committee in risk oversight was the chosen starting point, as the Audit Committee appears to have been ground zero for some of the failures in oversight.

These failures of risk assessment, in turn, have resulted in significant resources dedicated to internal and external investigations — investigations that many times have been poorly conceived and executed.

The panel discussed what best and worst practices have emerged, acknowledging that risk is an inherent characteristic of all businesses.

PowerPoint Presentation

Center Executive-in-Residence Jim Balassone interviews Robert Finocchio. Finocchio serves on the boards of Altera and Echelon Corporations, and CaseCentral, Embrane, JustAnswer, Tripwire and Silver-Peak (private companies). He chairs Santa Clara University's Board of Trustees where he is also a Dean's Executive Professor.

Other panelists were:

Deirdre Flaherty, a founding partner of the StoneTurn Group, has over 20 years experience providing forensic accounting services. She has conducted a large variety of corporate investigations, assisting Audit and Special Committee board members.

Darryl Rains, a partner at Morrison & Foerster, specializes in "white collar" crime litigation. He defends companies and their officers and directors in class actions, derivative actions


New Materials

Center News