Feeds

BAE to call in Woolf-led ethics pack

May find it difficult to sell weapons as a result

Top three mobile application threats

BAE Systems plc, the arms colossus at the centre of a decades-long stink over allegedly corrupt arms deals in Saudi Arabia, is to call in Lord Woolf, the former Lord Chief Justice, to validate its business practices.

The BBC reports that the weapons biz goliath - which says it is the fourth largest defence company worldwide - will set up an "independent ethics panel" led by Lord Woolf in coming months.

Interestingly, the Beeb's biz editor Robert Peston hints that the ethics panel may have been the brainchild of the non-executive part-timers on BAE's board.

This group, led by former BP No.2 Dick Olver, may be feeling a tad unsettled at having their names linked to the rather swashbuckling sales tactics BAE is said to have employed.

CEO Mike Turner and the other two UK-based operations men, Ian King and Chris Geoghegan, all joined BAE's precursor companies straight from university and have been hardcore British arms-industry types for their entire working lives (the group finance boss, George Rose, is a comparative newcomer, however, and USA-based chief Walt Havenstein is a former US Marine).

The ethics committee could be a false move, as its set-up effectively admits that BAE has a serious image problem. Worse, its remit will apparently be limited to current operations, without any inconvenient harking back to the past. As the long catalogue of allegations against BAE dates from the 1980s, even a solid upcheck from Lord Woolf is unlikely to silence the company's critics.

Conceivably, it might ease the ongoing BAE push into the US market, but Capitol Hill opponents of this are probably motivated by protectionism as much as probity. Ethics validation won't take away any of their ammunition.

And, worse still, the company probe could be bad news for sales and investor relations. Given the realities of the worldwide arms trade, many people might be reluctant to buy kit from or shares in a weapons maker known to be undergoing an internal effort to root out kickbacks and bribery. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing
China and Japan holdings worth more than entire company
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.