Under Armour “Protects this House” with a Strong Ethics and Compliance Program

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To read or scan the full interview, check out the transcription below: 

Introduction & Company Background

Amy: My name is Amy Much. I’m the Ethics and Compliance Officer at Under Armour.

Interviewer: Can you tell me a bit about Under Armour, company, number of employees…

Amy: Under Armour is a global company that makes athletic apparel. We are the world’s number one, we like to think, maker of athletic apparel, and we also have several fitness apps, My Fitness Pal and Map My Run. We have approximately $5 billion in revenue. The company was founded in 1996 by Kevin Plank and has grown exponentially in the past 20 years.

Interviewer: Great, I have a few questions on the industry. So witnessing this shift or this ethical transformation where strong ethics and core values are no longer simply nice to have and  senior management is being held to a higher ethical standard. Can you comment on the ethical shift and what you’re seeing in the industry in ethics and compliance?

Amy: We’re definitely experiencing an ethical shift in the industry, specifically around sports. There have been several recent scandals such as the FIFA scandal as well as the recent NCAA arrests that have taken place. The Department of Justice is focusing on corruption in sports. And so we’ve moved away from ethics is a nice-to-have thing and something that we all hold hands and sing about, and now it’s an absolute must for our organization.

Interviewer: With this ethical shift, how do CEOs and CCOs need to think differently? How have their roles changed?

Amy: So because of this ethical necessity for companies, people are seeing more and more CEOs sitting in Senate hearings having to defend unethical practices. It has to be at the core of your business initiatives to have ethical business practices.

Interviewer: That’s good. And so can you tell us a bit about your program, your ethics and compliance program, and your team and your role?

Amy: I function as the Ethics and Compliance Officer for Under Armour, and I have a very small team of three, myself included. We’re small, but I like to think highly effective. We are responsible for the global ethics and compliance of the entire organization, and specifically anti-bribery, anti-corruption, conflicts of interest, and the whistleblower hotline.

How Software and Convercent is Helping

Interviewer: Good. So let’s shift over and talk about technology a little bit. How important is the role of technology in this ethical transformation?

Amy: Technology is imperative in the current ethical climate. You have to be able to capture data, and it has to be accurate, and the data itself has to have integrity in order for you to manage your program effectively.

Interviewer: Great. How is the Convercent Ethics Cloud Platform helping you move beyond the reactive checkbox compliance management to a proactive and focused ethics and compliance management?

Amy: We found that we have been able to utilize a great partnership with the Convercent Ethics Cloud Platform in our day-to-day. It’s not only the hotline case management, but having a place where we can capture all of the conflict of interest data and be able to effectively manage and inform the teammates about the various conflicts of interest that could come up in their day-to-day has really helped us propel our program to the next level.

Before the implementation of the Convercent Disclosure Manager, I would say I probably captured 2% of the conflicts of interest at the company, and now we have had an 86% response rate in the campaign, which isn’t actually even finished. It’s been an exponential increase.

 I legitimately love the Convercent team. And from the time that I met the very first Convercent person, there was a click there. There was a synergy between our company and Convercent. We have a lot of common interests and common goals and common values. I feel like our compliance and ethics program has grown up with the Convercent platform.

Moving Forward

Interviewer: Great! Last question. So looking at the current state and ahead, building these more ethical companies helps the businesses, helps Under Armour around brand reputation, around risk mitigation, revenue, etc. But do you see building more ethical companies spilling out beyond the businesses themselves into communities, into the economy, to culture? Can you comment on that?

Amy: We definitely have a really huge and direct impact on the Baltimore community, and we have a giveback where hundreds of teammates will go into, for instance, one school in particular and renovate it. But I don’t know if that’s really ethics-based, you know?