R&C: To what extent has the role of chief compliance officer (CCO) gained greater importance in recent years? How would you characterise its evolution, and where it should rank within the corporate hierarchy today?

López Alonso: Although foreign companies with US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other compliance regulations are used to having a chief compliance officer (CCO), this is something new for Mexican companies. Mexico is only just starting to develop a compliance culture, having passed its first compliance laws just a few years ago. Given that, compliance is only just beginning to form an integral part of Mexican corporate governance. As this process advances, in some Mexican companies the CCO function is frequently assumed – often temporarily, and sometimes permanently – by the legal department, whose opinions are seriously taken into consideration by the board, or at least should be. Other companies are only just starting to appoint a CCO as part of their corporate governance system. In our view, the CCO should be at the top of the corporate hierarchy in order to ensure that her recommendations are not disregarded for operational reasons. She should have direct communication with the board and the shareholders’ meeting, and we believe that she should work hand-in-hand with other executives in order to implement precautionary measures in a way that does not prejudice the company’s functionality, since any measure that prevents a company from running normally will not be heeded by the employees.

Apr-Jun 2019 Issue

Zinser, Esponda y Gomez Mont, Abogados