Dell President, COO Kevin Rollins Calls on Businesses to Go Beyond Corporate Governance Reforms'Trust must be earned. It can't be legislated,' the newly appointed CEO of Dell said.Round Rock, Texas, May 5, 2004
Dell President and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Rollins called on business leaders to adopt a higher level of ethics and integrity in order to regain the trust of employees, customers, shareholders and government.
Rollins, who will become Dell's next chief executive officer in July, cautioned that skepticism about business will perpetuate skepticism about the economy. He urged business leaders to embrace transparent business models and build individual and corporate accountability into the fabric of their companies and into business culture. His comments were made at an American Enterprise Institute event on the impact of Sarbanes-Oxley, which became law two years ago.
"Every business grapples with a range of competitive issues. But skepticism about corporate behavior and performance is perhaps the most insipid because it breeds complacency in our companies, in the marketplace and in the economy," Mr. Rollins said. "Our goals for our country and our companies will go unfulfilled if we do not demonstrate integrity at every level and earn the trust of our many stakeholders."
"We can begin to repair that fragile trust over time by adopting transparent business models and corporate cultures that set expectations for individual and company performance beyond the numbers."
Mr. Rollins described Dell's efforts to foster accountability and responsibility within the company, through cultural imperatives, leadership and organizational initiatives and resources that empower employees to act ethically.
"Dell has a starting advantage because of our customer-direct business model that is both efficient and transparent," Mr. Rollins said. "But we believe that 'direct' is more than a business model. It is a fundamental responsibility and commitment to listen and to be responsive to our customers, employees and shareholders. Our direct relationships give us feedback about how we can become a better company, and our success hinges on how well we listen and react."
The Soul of Dell defines Dell's guiding principles for serving customers, team work and professional development, direct relationships, global citizenship and winning with integrity. Dell's Code of Conduct complements The Soul of Dell by providing specific guidance for employees regarding the company's standards for ethical conduct and behavior. Both documents are provided to employees around the world, and 44,000 employees received code of conduct training in 11 languages last year.
Dell's commitment to ethics begins at the top of the company. A global ethics council, comprised of Dell's most senior business leaders, defines and advocates ethics policy worldwide. The council is led by a chief ethics officer and reports to the company's board of directors on a regular basis. Regional ethics committees report to the council and implement ethics policies around the world.
Dell provides employees resources to confidentially discuss and report ethics issues. Dell has a global ethics hotline, which is administered by an independent company, to give employees an anonymous way to report incidents. Additionally, employees provide confidential feedback on the ethical performance of their leaders through the company-wide Tell Dell survey, which is administered twice annually, and an office of the ombuds is available for employees who have work issues that involve ethics.
For additional information or a full copy of Mr. Rollins' remarks, please visit www.dell.com/kevin/2004speeches.
About Kevin Rollins
Kevin Rollins is president and chief operating officer of Dell. In July, he will succeed Michael Dell as CEO of the company. Mr. Rollins is responsible for the day-to-day global operations of the company, and with CEO Michael Dell, sets the company's strategic direction. During his tenure at Dell, the company has seen its most dramatic growth, with revenues increasing from $5 billion in 1996 to $41.4 billion in its most recent four quarters. Before joining Dell in 1996, Mr. Rollins was vice president and partner of Bain & Co. management consultants. Mr. Rollins serves on the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiation. He is a member of the Computer Systems Policy Project and serves on the board of trustees for the American Enterprise Institute.
Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) is a premier provider of products and services required for customers worldwide to build their information-technology and Internet infrastructures. Company revenue for the past year totaled $41.4 billion. Dell, through its direct business model, designs, manufactures and customizes products and services to customer requirements, and offers an extensive selection of software and peripherals. Information on Dell and its products can be obtained at www.dell.com.