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Posts Tagged ‘gifts’

I’m Lovin’ It

Some of us may remember a former Managing Director of McDonald’s Hong Kong was jailed for 4 years and 5 months last year, who was tried for bribery charges 3 years ago.  The 47-year old MD accepted bribes for recommending and approving a Thai food company to become the corn supplier of McDonald’s.   The bribe is said to be 10% commission of total corn sales, amounting to around 330 thousand US dollars.   To cover up for the bribe, the MD advised the corn supplier to answer law enforcement officers that the money was used for a joint venture property investment in China.  The city’s Independent Commission Against Corruption, for all the right reasons and evidence, did not buy the cover up.  The MD was head of McDonald’s Philippines for 3 years before taking up the top post in Hong Kong in May 2004.  According to reports, he spent 10 years expanding McDonald’s business in mainland China.

I have no idea why senior executives would throw away their hard-earned career, naive enough to hope that their illegal acts would not be uncovered.   However I am now told that such dealings are not at all rare in the food industry.  I admit that all I am hearing are rumors with absolutely no proof whatsoever, but I am amazed as to how short-sighted these supposedly professionals are.  Is it all about the money?  Is it about the perceived power as well?  I guess it probably feels great to have potential suppliers begging for your business and even offering to provide certain concessions.  Earlier I wrote about what a fine line procurement professionals could walk while accepting gifts, and here I would like to share a question which a former boss of mine used to raise in an internal training session which I co-hosted.

For the immense support you generated to their business over the past years, your supplier delivered a gift to you during a year-end business function.  You opened it and it was an expensive Swiss branded watch – the kind that you would only reward yourself after getting a sizable bonus at work.  Since the value is way above the company’s gift policy guideline, you reported it to your boss, company management and compliance.  Now suppose that everyone has cleared you of any illicit under-the-table insinuations, your boss told you that the decision is up to you.   Nothing is illegal, and the company has endorsed it as a genuine personal gift.

Would you take the watch?

 

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