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Tech Data: We need ethics, and we've found the right man

Exec officer Jean-Paul Durand is dripping in justice.... degrees

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It comes to something when a corporation is forced to appoint a chief ethics and compliance officer but that is exactly what distributor Tech Data has done, weeks after completing its costly accounting investigation.

Fourteen-year company veteran Jean-Paul Durand – who most recently served as TD's vice president, assistant general counsel – steps into the newly created position to show the world that the distie is now whiter than white.

"Tech Data is committed to sound corporate governance and ethical business practices, and this appointment reflects our continued commitment to legally and ethically conducting business," said David Vetter, senior veep, general counsel, and the man Durand will report to.

Durand holds a bachelors and a masters in Justice from Florida Uni, the distributor confirmed.

Two deputy ethics and compliance officer roles, one based in Europe and the other in the Americas, were also created to help monitor trade and develop reporting tools "on programme effectiveness".

In another move post-probe, TD has also created chief beancounter positions on both sides of the Atlantic, with Charles Dannewitz and Alain Amsellem taking up the role in the Americas and Europe respectively.

Both chaps will be responsible for shoring up "finance, accounting and credit" functions in their respective regions, TD said.

"This organisational alignment creates a clear delineation between the company's controlling and finance functions in order to drive improved transparency, control and compliance," said global CFO Jeffery P Howells.

The reason for this senior level shuffling is the accounting investigation that started last March and continued until a fortnight ago, when TD confirmed it had been forced to write-off $27m worth of profits for fiscal '11, '12 and '13.

The initial probe pertained to the UK where the distie found errors in vendor accounting, but buried in its recent filing, two European countries and an operation in Latin America were also fingered for mistakes.

The investigation found "improper vendor accounting, improper use of manual journal entries and improper recognition of foreign currency exchange transactions".

The restatement saw reduced sales of $840m for the fiscal year to 31 January 2011, a reduction of $756m for the following year and just $3m for fiscal '13 - representing 13 per cent of total worldwide consolidated revenue.

Auditing fees in 2013 were just above $24m, of which $19m was related to the restatement. Auditors, just like insolvency practitioners, are always on hand to make a pretty penny when things go wrong. ®

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