AT: First, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. I’m glad we were able to do this. I’ve enjoyed working with you on the SCCE Encouraging, Managing, and Integrating Employee Reporting conference. But, let me start by going back to your early days. You began your career as an auditor and then became the chief financial officer (CFO) for a pair of manufacturing companies before joining Sony. What led you to Sony?
JT: Thank you also for inviting me to talk, and it’s great to have the opportunity to talk about the importance of monitoring a compliance program. To answer your question, I grew up with a passion for technology and always owned Sony products—such as the original CRT-based Trinitron TVs, Walkman® personal stereos, and car audio products. I was always impressed with the quality and durability of Sony products.
I began my career at PwC. Sony’s US-based Electronics and Headquarters operations was one of my clients. During that time, I thoroughly enjoyed working with the Sony people, and my passion for technology increased as I was able to see firsthand how Sony products were made and worked. I also became very interested in Japan and Japanese culture. I left PwC for an opportunity to become CFO of a manufacturing company and, subsequently, CFO of a medical device company. I enjoyed those experiences, but when I was presented with an opportunity to join Sony’s internal audit department where I had built strong relationships and could experience the challenges of working for a multinational company with diverse businesses and cultures, I felt compelled to take it. That was over 20 years ago and proved to be the wisest career decision of my life.
AT: Why did Sony decide to establish a separate compliance audit/monitoring function?
JT: When the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) first implemented its guidelines for an effective compliance program, it called for organizations to take steps to ensure that the company audit and monitor its ethics and compliance programs. Our general counsel at the time believed that it was best to create a specialized unit, focused exclusively on auditing and monitoring Sony’s ethics and compliance program, given the size and breadth of the company’s operations. We work with compliance personnel to ensure Sony’s ethics and compliance program is fully implemented at all entities and remains effective.
AT: Sony is a large global company. What parts of the business does your role encompass, and does your group monitor all aspects of Sony’s ethics and compliance program?